Mutual Fund Madness and Much, Much More

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Mutual Fund Madness

In last week's

Under the Hood,

Brenda Buttner

asks whether an investor should even bother to read a prospectus. That question may soon be moot. The

Washington Post

takes a closer look at the "sweeping overhaul of mutual fund disclosure that has some consumer advocates concerned."

The

Boston Globe

reports that

Fidelity

is "stepping into the next frontier for U.S. asset management companies, by saying that it would roll out seven mutual funds in April for direct sale to individual Japanese investors."

The

Telegraph

reports that the "big four" fund managers --

Gartmore

,

Schroders

,

PDFM

and

Mercury Asset Management

-- were on the defensive after being criticized by John Clamp, chief executive of

Combined Actuarial Performance Services

and the industry's leading performance analyst, for below-average returns for the past two years.

Fund managers on the continent are turning their backs on Britain, risky Asia and overvalued America to focus on their own markets, according to a

Merrill Lynch

/

Gallup

survey published this week. Also in the

Telegraph

.

Olestra

, a

Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Report

product, makes its Australian debut amidst controversy. In the

Sydney Morning Herald

.

Meanwhile, controversy still rages on this side of the pond about the fat substitute with the

Center for Science in the Public Interest

pressing for cautionary language in commercials for

WOW

potato chips. May I suggest, "WOW! What part of 'anal leakage' did you not understand?" Check out the

article

and

photo

in the

Los Angeles Times

.

The

Sydney Morning Herald

reports that "Australians are drinking more soft drinks than the traditional hot beverages -- tea, coffee and hot chocolate -- with cola remaining the number-one preference, according to a survey by the United Kingdom-based research group Canadean."

In other soft-drink news, the

Los Angeles Times

reports that after 43 years of

Coke

(KO) - Get Report

being the exclusive supplier to

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

theme parks,

PepsiCo

(PEP) - Get Report

will now be the official supplier at

Edison International Field

, home of the Disney-owned

Anaheim Angels

.

In other Disney news and just in time for the

NCAA

tournament, the

Chicago Tribune

looks at the launch of

ESPN The Magazine

, a joint venture with Walt Disney and

Hearst Publications

.

Movie Magic? Making Nine Dollars Disappear from Your Wallet

Jack Valenti, president and CEO of the

Motion Picture Assocation of America

, told

ShoWest '98

conventioneers that the average tab to make and market a major film last year was $75.6 million and that amounted to "a fiscal Godzilla slouching toward our future." In the

Los Angeles Times

.

Well, here's one thing in Hollywood that isn't bloated. The

South China Morning Post

reports that

Leonardo DiCaprio's

grandmother, Helene in den Birken, thinks the star is too skinny and plans to fatten him up with "irresistible homemade apple streudel cake and sauerkraut."

On the other hand, there are a few good example of excess in Hollywood. The

Boring Institute

has announced its 13th annual list of the year's least-scintillating movies. Topping it off is

Kevin Costner's

The Postman

. Also in the

South China Morning Post

.

South of the Border

The

Washington Post

reports that

Costa Rica

is the new hot zone for blue-chip expansion, including

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

,

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

,

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

and

Motorola

(MOT)

.

Don't expect to get to

Machu Picchu

on

Continental

(CAIB)

. The

Houston Chronicle

reports that

Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Report

, not the expected Continental, will partner with South American carrier

Aeroperu

.

South of the border and back again! The

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

reports that less than a year after being moved to a facility in Mexico, filling and packaging operations of

Nu-Kote International

(NKOT)

, the leading manufacturer of ink toner used in copiers and printers, are returning to the company's Connellsville, Pa., plant.