Mutual Funds


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Mutual Funds

  1. 1. Information from FAMILY ECONOMICS Human Environmental Sciences Mutual Extension Funds Joyce Cavanagh MU Extension Consumer and Family Economics Specialist ne way for beginning investors vary each day. Therefore, the mutual O to simplify their investment decision is to buy shares in mutual funds. A mutual fund is an fund company calculates a price per share of the total portfolio each busi- ness day. This calculation is called the open-end investment company that net asset value (NAV). The NAV is what pools its shareholders’ money and you will pay per share when you buy or invests these funds in stocks, bonds what you will receive per share when and other securities. Each investor you sell shares of the mutual fund. buys shares of the total portfolio. Transaction costs may also be involved There are many mutual funds avail- Investment Basics when buying or selling shares of the able, but selecting the best one can be mutual fund. NAVs of many mutual challenging. Hopefully, this publication You can find each fund’s objective in funds are published in The Wall Street will take some of the mystery out of its prospectus. The prospectus is a Journal, Barron’s, and some major investing in mutual funds. Investors who booklet that contains information about daily newspapers. lack the time, energy or inclination to the fund. Directions for obtaining a fund Each share of a mutual fund repre- research mutual funds before making prospectus are found on page 6. With sents a portion of all the investments in their selection may wish to work with a the vast number of funds available, there the fund. An open-end fund creates competent investment adviser. should be many that will meet your and redeems shares daily. Investors needs, regardless of the amount of risk can buy shares directly from the invest- Understanding you are willing to assume. ment company or through stockbrokers mutual funds The prices of the stocks, bonds and (and others authorized to buy and sell Every mutual fund has an objective. other investments in any mutual fund securities). The objective guides and directs the mutual fund’s manager(s) when choos- Net asset value ing investments for the fund’s portfolio. The net asset value (NAV) determines the price paid per share when buying The objective is broken down into spe- or the price received when selling mutual fund shares. With a load fund, the cific goals. These goals typically include purchase price is the NAV per share plus the load. When selling, the price stability, growth or income. Stability received is the NAV per share minus any redemption fees. Mutual fund compa- includes protection from loss of the nies compute the NAV at the close of each business day as follows: amount invested and the degree of variability in the value of the shares. (Fund assets) – (Expenses and liabilities) Growth is the increase in value of the Number of shares outstanding principal or amount invested. Income is the amount the investor will receive The NAV varies from day to day, depending on the movement of the market from interest or dividends. and other factors that affect the value of securities in the total portfolio. Published by MU Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia GH 3523
  2. 2. Benefits and cautions for the investor Closed-end investment companies Closed-end investment companies (or closed-end funds), while similar to Benefits mutual funds, have some basic differences. These funds create a specific num- Mutual funds offer many benefits for ber of shares. The investment company does not continue offering to sell the average investor: shares (or buy back shares from shareholders). Instead, investors buy and sell s The nature of a mutual fund makes it these shares in the secondary securities market. The price of closed-end a diversified investment, which helps shares can be more or less than the NAV, depending on a number of factors reduce risk to the investor. That is, such as investor supply of and demand for shares. they contain many different invest- Evaluating a closed-end fund is more difficult than evaluating a mutual fund. ments, often across a range of Not only must you judge it using the same criteria as for a mutual fund, but you industries. Many new investors would must figure out how other investors will look at its prospects. lack the knowledge and money to achieve the same level of diversifica- generally pay no sales fees on pur- fund to another. Since the costs tion on their own. chases. However, there could be a affect the amount you invest and the charge if you sell too soon. total return you receive, you will want s The investor can choose from a wide to be aware of the costs before variety of mutual fund portfolios, s Investors regularly receive updates investing your money. each with its own set of objectives, about the fund’s objectives, perfor- risks, returns, and investments. mance, fees, and management team. Types of funds Some mutual fund companies offer This discussion focuses on three of multiple funds, each with a different Cautions the four basic kinds of mutual funds: objective. Investing in a variety of There are some cautions to consider s Equity funds with the same company can when investing in mutual funds, also. s Balanced and total return simplify the selection process. s The safety of the invested principal s Bond and earnings is neither insured nor s Money market s Each fund is professionally man- guaranteed. This is also true of mutu- Equity funds invest in stocks. Bal- aged. The fund manager(s) decide al funds sold through banks, though anced and total return funds invest in which securities to buy, sell, and hold many new investors may not be stocks and bonds. Bond funds invest (and when). aware of that fact. While some funds exclusively in bonds. Money market are relatively safe, there is always funds invest in short-term securities such s Mutual fund shares can be easily pur- some risk involved in any investment. as Treasury bills, certificates of deposit, chased and sold (redeemed). Divi- For all of their benefits, mutual funds and short-term business loans. Money dends, interest, and capital gains can are not risk free. For a discussion of market funds are discussed in MU guide be reinvested automatically. the various types of risks faced by GH 3521, Financial Institution Deposits investors, see MU guide GH 3520, and U.S. Government Securities, of this s New investors can buy into many Getting Started Saving and Invest- Investment Basics series. funds easily, often with little or no ini- ing, of this Investment Basics series. tial investment. Initial minimum It is important that potential investors Equity funds investments can range from “no mini- read and understand the fund’s Equity funds are those that primarily mum” to $2,500 or more. Some com- prospectus, know what securities are invest in shares of stock from various panies allow a small initial contained in the portfolio, and evalu- corporations. Depending on their objec- investment followed by a monthly ate the fund’s past performance to tives (which affect the securities selected payment as low as $25 until you help minimize their risk. for the portfolio), equity funds vary in reach the required minimum. Often, their degree of risk. For more information the investor’s financial institution can s Various costs and fees are imposed about stocks, refer to MU guide automatically transfer this amount when investing in mutual funds (see GH 3522, Stocks, of this Investment each month. discussion on page 5). These costs Basics series. s Investors who buy “no-load” funds and fees vary considerably from one 2 Human Environmental Sciences Extension
  3. 3. s Aggressive growth funds These two fund types invest around these funds. Exclusion of these compa- These funds invest in companies the world. International funds invest nies can reduce returns somewhat, but where a rapid increase in stock value is only in foreign stocks. Global equity investors in these funds have social expected, with little or no dividends. funds invest in a combination of U.S. and ethical goals, as well as financial Stocks in aggressive growth fund port- and international stocks. goals. folios are often of new companies, new Stock markets in other countries do industries, companies struggling to sur- not rise and fall at the same rate as the Balanced and total-return vive, and companies or industries that U.S. stock market. However, even if the funds are temporarily “out of favor.” The value price of a foreign stock remains Balanced funds and total-return of these funds can rise or fall rapidly. unchanged, U.S. investors can lose or funds invest in a mix of bonds, pre- gain because of exchange rate fluctua- ferred stocks, and common stocks. s Growth funds tions between foreign currency and the These funds have three goals: to con- Growth funds invest in profitable, U.S. dollar. serve principal, to pay current income, well-established companies where their and to promote long-term growth of stock value is expected to grow faster s A fund of funds capital. than average. A fund of funds invests in other mutual funds from the same manage- Bond funds s Growth and income funds ment company. This allows investors to The purpose of a bond fund is to Growth and income funds invest in buy one fund with several objectives, preserve principal and earn income. companies that pay higher dividends thereby reducing risk on the total port- Investing in bond funds is not the same than most. Returns on these funds folio. Because of their diversity, these as investing in individual bonds. When come from long-term growth in stock funds may be particularly useful for individual bonds mature, investors get prices and a steady dividend income. retirement accounts such as Individual back what they have invested. In com- Some growth and income funds contain Retirement Accounts (IRAs). parison, bond funds have no maturity only stocks. Others contain mostly date (even though the bonds within the stocks and a few bonds. s Sector funds fund do) because bond fund managers Sector funds focus on stocks in a trade bonds continuously. This lack of s Equity-income funds single industry, such as utilities, energy, maturity date causes problems if you Equity-income funds focus on stocks precious metals, health care, or trans- need to sell your fund shares when that pay regular, steady dividends. portation. The lack of diversification interest rates are on the rise. The value Growth in value is secondary. These makes these funds more risky than of your fund could be less than when funds contain only stocks. The total some other types of funds. you invested. return for equity-income funds tends to Investors should be aware that all be similar to that for growth and income s Socially responsible mutual funds bonds are not created equal. Bonds are funds, only the approach is different. These funds invest in companies “graded” according to the creditworthi- that are concerned with ethical or ness of the issuer. U.S. government s Index funds social issues or they avoid investing in bonds are the safest because they are Index funds invest in stocks of one companies that produce certain prod- backed by the full faith and credit of the of the major broadly based market ucts or follow certain policies. For federal government. Therefore, they form indexes, such as the Standard and example, socially responsible mutual the standard of comparison for all other Poor’s 500 Stock Index (S&P 500). A funds might invest only in companies bonds. For more information about bond broadly based index is a group of with a goal of improving the environ- ratings, refer to MU guide GH 3524, stocks that are chosen to represent the ment or they might avoid investing in Bonds, of this Investment Basics series. entire stock market. Index funds should companies that are involved with gam- When selecting a bond fund, investors perform similarly to the underlying bling, tobacco, or alcohol or companies should pay close attention to the credit index. known to discriminate against minori- rating of the bonds in the fund. ties. Because of these limitations, some s International and global equity of the most profitable and widely diver- s Corporate bond funds funds sified companies are excluded from These funds include investment- University of Missouri-Columbia 3
  4. 4. grade bonds. Investment-grade bonds s Municipal bond funds Selecting a fund have one of the top four ratings: AAA, Municipal bond funds focus on Now that you know about the vari- AA, A, or BBB (Standard and Poor) or bonds issued by state and local govern- ous types of mutual funds, you may be Aaa, Aa, A, or Baa (Moody). ments. Distributions of interest, but not wondering how to select one. The high- capital gains, are free from federal tax. est returns over the long run are usual- s High-yield or junk bond funds Distributions of interest paid on bonds ly from funds that perform consistently These funds invest in bonds that purchased by Missouri taxpayers that from year to year. To find a fund that is have ratings below those of investment- are issued in Missouri are generally free consistent, consider those that annually grade bonds, which indicate a greater of both federal and state taxes. The have returns in the top half of mutual chance that they will default. The titles return on these funds is lower than on funds of that type. of these funds usually have the words U.S. government bond funds. Mutual funds can fluctuate dramati- “high yield” in them. The difference s International bond funds cally with swings in the market and between the return on junk bond funds International bond funds invest in changes in interest rates, so a long-run and regular bond funds can be signifi- foreign bonds. (three or more years) approach to cant, but the risks associated with high- investing is important. When you start yield funds can also be significant. s Global bond funds studying mutual fund results, you will If you are looking for higher income, Global bond funds invest in a combi- probably find that the funds at the top be sure to consult financial magazines nation of foreign and U.S. corporate of the list over one, three, six, or twelve to see what has happened to the fund bonds. months are not the ones at the top of both when interest rates increased and The above is not a complete listing of the list over three to five years. when they decreased. mutual fund types. There are others, Magazines that specialize in person- Government bond funds invest in a such as precious metals/gold funds, flex- al finance are good sources for infor- variety of government securities, includ- ible portfolio funds, and specialty funds. mation on which funds offer the most ing U.S. Treasury notes and Treasury consistent returns. For example, Busi- bonds. Remember, while interest is guaranteed (except on some govern- ment agency securities), losses can Dollar-cost averaging occur when buying and selling U.S. Share price # Shares securities in the secondary market. $ Invested (NAV) purchased Because of the low risk involved in U.S. government securities, interest rates Month 1 $100.00 $10.00 10.0 are lower than those for corporate bond Month 2 100.00 9.50 10.5 funds. Distributions of interest on U.S. Month 3 100.00 12.50 8.0 Treasury notes and bonds are exempt $300.00 $32.00/3 = $10.67 28.5 from Missouri state and local income taxes, which helps compensate for the Dollar-cost averaging is a technique for purchasing mutual fund shares (or lower interest rate. stocks) on a regular basis. It is one way to establish and follow a long-term investment plan. s Ginnie Mae funds By purchasing a specific dollar amount each time period (usually each These funds contain mortgages month), you buy more shares when prices are down and fewer shares when guaranteed by the Government Nation- prices are higher. This process actually leads to a greater return on your invest- al Mortgage Association (GNMA) to ment in the long-run (assuming share prices go up in the long-run). pay timely principal and interest. Above is an example where an investor purchases $100 worth of shares Returns include both the principal and each month. The average price was $10.67. If purchased at this price, the interest. Some investors do not auto- investor could have purchased 28.1 shares ($300 / 10.67). However, the matically reinvest returns from Ginnie investor was able to purchase 28.5 shares at an average cost of $10.53 ($300 / Mae funds. If the investor’s goal is to 28.5) because of dollar-cost averaging. Over the long run, these differences can keep principal intact, reinvestment of add up. earnings is an important strategy. 4 Human Environmental Sciences Extension
  5. 5. fees. Remember, however, that fees are Reading The Wall Street Journal not the only factor to consider. Mutual Fund Quotations s Loads A mutual fund can have a load or be (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) a no-load fund. No-load funds generally Inv Offer NAV Total Return charge no sales fees for purchases of Obj NAV Price Chg YTD 13 wks 3 yrs R shares. Load funds charge a sales fee Quast GRO 13.80 NL + 0.02 +1.5 – 0.01 +8.8 A or commission that occurs “up-front.” (1) Name of the mutual fund (may be shortened or abbreviated). (2) Investment objective, such as growth, growth and income, sector funds, and s Redemption fee others. A sales charge or redemption fee (3) Net asset value or dollar value per share as of the previous trading day. may also be imposed when you sell (4) Indicates this is a no-load fund (and thus, NAV is also offer price). your shares. This is known as a rear- (5) Change in the NAV between the closing quotation listed and that of the pre- end load. Some mutual fund companies vious trading day. charge a fee when an investor sells (6) Percentage return (+ or –), assuming all distributions are reinvested and shares in a fund soon after purchase excluding the sales charges. In this case, year-to-date, the last thirteen (called a contingent-deferred sales weeks, and the annual average over the last three years are given. YTD is charge). These charges typically calculated each business day; other time periods reported vary by day of decline with each year you own the the week, with expense ratios listed on Mondays. fund and disappear after you own it for (7) Ranking of return performance, with “A” meaning the fund was in the top 20 a specified number of years. percent over the last three years. Note: Various footnote symbols in The If you buy and sell shares through a Wall Street Journal provide additional information/exceptions. stockbroker (or others who are autho- rized to buy and sell securities), there may be an additional sales charge from ness Week, Forbes, Smart Money, Call or write the fund for a copy of that professional. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, the prospectus and the most recent and Money have articles on various annual or semiannual report. You may s 12b-1 fee funds’ categories and objectives, past also want to get a copy of the company The Securities and Exchange Com- performances, and fee structures. To report and the statement of additional mission (SEC) also allows mutual funds see how funds have done over the past information (see later discussion). Most to charge what is known as the 12b-1 year, three years, and five years, you funds have a toll-free number for fee to cover marketing and distribution can consult the Mutual Fund Quotation requesting the prospectus, other reports, costs. This fee helps pay the costs of section of the Wall Street Journal each and forms for purchasing shares. buying and selling securities within the Friday. Each fund’s performance is fund’s portfolio (in lieu of sales charges given for those three time periods. Costs and fees or loads), advertising, and other costs. When you find several funds that Mutual funds are not cost-free. Currently, the combined total of sales match your specific goals and have When ownership costs are high, charges (loads), 12b-1 fees, and consistent returns, get more informa- returns are smaller, and there is less redemption fees cannot be greater than tion about these funds. Check your money to reinvest. The fees and 8.5 percent (in some instances, the local library for mutual fund reference charges that investors pay to buy and limit may be lower). books, newsletters, and other informa- sell shares of a mutual fund are not tax s Management and other fees tion services that provide more in-depth deductible. However, they usually affect All mutual funds charge investors a information. Examples include those by the income tax “basis” of your shares management or administrative fee that Kiplinger, Lipper, Morningstar, Standard and thus reduce a capital gain or compensates the portfolio manager(s). and Poor, Value Line, and Wiesenberg- increase a capital loss. This management fee is typically stated er. These references list and describe One strategy to increase your return as a percentage but may also be stated hundreds of mutual funds. is to select a fund with the lowest total as a flat fee. Other fees cover the cost of University of Missouri-Columbia 5
  6. 6. maintaining an office, fees paid to com- ✔ What flexibility does the manager s Investment risk panies contracted by the mutual fund to have to increase income on the The prospectus discusses the risk provide services for shareholders, and portfolio? level of the fund and often suggests the other fund operating expenses. ✔ For bond funds, what is the quality kind of investor who should invest. The (grade) of bonds in the fund? location of this information varies. The prospectus and ✔ How much risk are you willing to company reports s Summary of expenses assume? If the shares of your fund A prospectus contains facts about The first chart in the prospectus is lose value, will you hold onto them an individual mutual fund and is avail- the summary of fund expenses. until they go up again? able from the fund free of charge. The ✔ Does the fund have a sales fee or a ✔ Does your risk tolerance match the company report, also free, provides 12b-1 fee? fund’s risk level? established investors with the results of ✔ What are the total operating their mutual fund’s performance and expenses? How do they compare s Shareholder services activity. It offers useful information for with those of other funds you are This section may be called “How to prospective investors as well. You can considering? Invest,” “Shareholder’s Manual,” “Share- order them by calling the mutual fund’s ✔ What is your total cost of ownership holder’s Guide,” or a similar title. toll free number or by writing the com- over 1, 3, 5 and 10 years? You can ✔ Can you invest by telephone, Inter- pany with the request. find this information in the prospec- net, mail, exchange of funds and tus table illustrating the costs of wire? Reading the prospectus investing $1,000 at 5 percent and ✔ Can you invest automatically each The prospectus provides much infor- redeeming shares at the end of month? mation. Many investors, particularly each period. ✔ How are earnings distributed to you? those unfamiliar with legal and financial ✔ How do you get your money out of terms, may find it difficult to read. Here s Financial history the fund? are some factors to consider when This table and related information ✔ What is the minimum you must selecting mutual funds and ideas on must also appear in the beginning sec- keep in your account? where to find the information in the tion of the prospectus. It has up to ten prospectus. years of data on the fund. Statement of additional ✔ Does the average net asset value information s Date of the prospectus (NAV) vary greatly from year to This report, also called “Part B,” con- You should have the most recent edi- year? Is the direction usually tains the names, occupations, and tion. By law, a company must update its upward over time? salaries of the company’s officers and a prospectus at least once a year. ✔ What is the portfolio turnover rate? description of how the fund operates. Funds pay brokerage fees when For example, in some funds, invest- s Minimum investment they buy or sell securities in the ment decisions are made by the top This information is usually on the portfolio. Those with high turnover manager and assistants. In others, a first page. If the minimum is more than rates have higher expenses. Com- committee makes investment decisions. you can afford, you do not need to read pare the turnover rates of funds In still other funds, the star manager or further. with similar objectives. several independent managers decide. You will want to know how long those s Investment objectives s Statement of fund organization managing the fund have been in that There will be a brief statement of ✔ How long has the fund been in position and what level of performance objectives on the cover page and a business? New funds do not have a have they achieved? You will not more detailed statement inside the track record. receive this statement with the prospectus. ✔ How large is the fund financially? prospectus. However, you may request ✔ How is the fund divided among Very large funds are more difficult one from the investment company with- each of its investments? to manage and may not do as well out charge. ✔ Where are any remaining assets as moderate-sized funds. invested? 6 Human Environmental Sciences Extension
  7. 7. Semiannual and annual Selling mutual fund shares This publication has discussed how reports Being a wise investor not only to select, analyze, buy and sell mutual Twice a year mutual funds must involves knowing how to select a mutu- funds. Now it is up to you to decide issue performance reports. These al fund, but it also includes knowing how mutual funds fit into your overall reports list the stocks, bonds, and other when to sell your shares. Many new investment plan. securities held in the portfolio. They investors sell for the wrong reasons. also document current investment They sell when the market is declining, The Investment Basics series is not activity and discuss this activity within especially when it declines greatly in intended to provide a complete and in- the context of the fund’s history. The one day. They act on tips from friends depth text on investments. Rather, it is annual report also includes audited or advisers that may not be in the designed to provide an introduction to financial statements of the fund. investor’s best interest. They forget that common savings and investment alter- their goal is to increase their own net natives and to help the beginning Managing mutual worth over the long term. investor start to design and implement fund investments Before you sell your fund shares, be an investment plan. Investment alterna- sure to answer the following three tives more suited to a discussion on Income taxes questions: retirement planning or insurance, those You will pay income taxes on the 1. Why did I buy into the fund? which require greater expertise on the annual return from your mutual fund, 2. What kind of return did I expect? part of the investor, and those which unless your fund account is an Individ- 3. What could make me change my generally involve a higher degree of ual Retirement Account or other tax- mind about the fund I selected? risk are also not included in the series. deferred retirement plan. That is, you Once you have set certain stan- Information in this publication is will be taxed on the interest (unless tax- dards for owning your fund shares, based on the laws in force and informa- exempt), dividends, and capital gains deciding when to sell becomes easier. tion available on the date of publication. realized by the fund each year. This is Begin to think about selling your The use of trade names is not true even when you reinvest the income fund shares when you need the money intended as an endorsement, nor is in the fund. Instructions are provided by within one to three years. Markets criticism of unnamed firms and prod- your mutual fund on how to report earn- move in cycles and you do not want to ucts implied. ings on your income tax return. sell when the market is down. When you sell your shares, capital If you’ve been in a fund for 2 or 3 gains and losses must also be taken years, and it is not doing what you References into account when filing your income expect, you may want to sell. However, Tengel, Patricia M. Mutual Funds. tax returns. The Internal Revenue Ser- mutual funds work best when given 3 College Park: Cooperative Extension vice (IRS) specifies how to report your to 5 years to grow. Service, University of Maryland, gain or loss. Check these rules in the If you are anxious about your invest- Fact Sheet 656, 1993. IRS 1040 instruction book, a more in- ment, you may be in the wrong fund. If Auster, Rolf. What You Ought to depth IRS publication (such as Publica- you sell for this reason, consider why Know About Mutual Funds. Chicago: tion 564, Mutual Fund Distributions), or you felt anxious before choosing anoth- Commerce Clearing House, Inc., 1992. with your tax adviser. You will need the er fund. Your anxiety may be related to Couchman, Glennis M. Investment prices of all the shares you bought. Be the level of risk that you can comfort- Strategies for Retirement Income. Still- sure to save all statements from the ably tolerate. You will not decrease your water: Cooperative Extension Service, mutual fund company. anxiety by investing in another fund Oklahoma State University, October The four methods for reporting with the same level of risk. 1993. mutual fund sales on your tax return Finally, consider selling your fund An Investor’s Guide to Reading the are too lengthy to discuss in this publi- when your reasons for investing or the Mutual Fund Prospectus. Washington, cation. However, it is important that you conditions under which you invested D.C.: Investment Company Institute, understand these rules because they change. Common reasons for selling 1994. may affect which shares you choose to include a change in your goals, a Mayo, Herbert B. Investments: An sell. change in the tax laws or a change in Introduction. Fort Worth: The Dryden the fund’s fees or manager(s). Press, 1994. University of Missouri-Columbia 7
  8. 8. Morris, Kenneth M. and Alan M. University, HE-627, March 1992. This publication was adapted, with Siegel. The Wall Street Journal Guide What Every Investor Should Know: permission, from: to Understanding Money and Investing. A Handbook from the U.S. Securities Jones, Joyce. Investment Basics, Lightbulb Press, Inc., 1993. and Exchange Commission. Part 5: Mutual Funds. Manhattan: Turner, Josephine. Stocks and Mutu- Washington, D.C.: Office of Public Cooperative Extension Service, Kansas al Funds. Auburn, Alabama: Coopera- Affairs, U.S. Securities and Exchange State University, MF 2083, May 1995. tive Extension Service, Auburn Commission, July 1994. s Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension Work Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department OUTREACH & EXTENSION of Agriculture. Ronald J. Turner, Director, Cooperative Extension, University of Missouri and Lincoln University, Columbia, MO 65211. s University Outreach and Extension does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability or status as UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI a Vietnam era veteran in employment or programs. s If you have special needs as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act and need COLUMBIA this publication in an alternative format, write ADA Officer, Extension and Agricultural Information, 1-98 Agriculture Building, Columbia, MO 65211, or call (573) 882-7216. Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate your special needs. $1.00 GH 3523 New 1/00/5M