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Mutual Fund Madness and Much, Much More

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."


Boston Globe

reports that


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."



reports that the "big four" fund managers --


TheStreet Recommends






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



survey published this week. Also in the




, a

Procter & Gamble

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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


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




in the

Los Angeles Times



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


(KO) - Get Coca-Cola Company Report

being the exclusive supplier to


(DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report

theme parks,


(PEP) - Get PepsiCo, Inc. 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


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


Washington Post

reports that

Costa Rica

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


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(BA) - Get Boeing Company Report








Don't expect to get to

Machu Picchu




. The

Houston Chronicle

reports that

Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Delta Air Lines, Inc. Report

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



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


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