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The bottom line is the performance of the fund. For this you can look at a chart. You can see the direction of the fund (up, down, sideways), and determine whether or not it is a buy. You can compare different funds, and see which are doing the best at this time. You can also compare different funds to the performance of the averages.

Of course, you also have to make sure that it does not have a load. But the fees charged are part of the return, so are included in the chart. It is a mistake to pay too much attention to the fees, since it is all in the return.

If you buy a fund, continue to look at its performance relative to other funds, and switch to another fund if yours begins to lag. Of course, for good returns you need to time the market. If the market is declining, no long-only fund is going to do well, so you just need to sell and stay our until the market gets better.

For charts I use Fasttrack (, but I feel sure that there are other charting systems out there as well.
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