Wall Street: What the Funds Do And Why They Do It

When will the stock market march back to its old highs? A possible answer: when the men who control the nation's 300 mighty mutual funds begin to buy in earnest.

The funds do close to 7% of all the trading on the New York Stock Exchange, are the most active institutional investors, and their power is growing. In times of tough markets, small investors habitually dump their own shares and shift into funds, figuring that the professional money managers know best. This year investors have bought a net of $2.4 billion in fund...

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