The week's best financial advice

Three top pieces of financial advice — from trading Twitter’s favorite stocks to how to avoid misjudging mutual funds

Companies can now gauge the amount of positive or negative tweets about themselves
(Image credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial advice, gathered from around the web:

Trading Twitter's favorite stocks

Twitter users' stock-picking chops could soon be put to the test, said Eric Balchunas at Bloomberg. Market Prophit, a data analytics firm that tracks social media chatter about the stock market, is in talks to create an exchange-traded fund based on its Social Media Sentiment Index. Market Prophit's index tracks the 25 most-tweeted-about stocks, using algorithms to analyze each stock's "sentiment factor" — essentially, whether people are tweeting good or bad things about a company. The index, which is reconstituted quarterly but rebalances daily, then goes long or short "based on sentiment from the Twitterverse." So far, the index is up 7 percent this year. It holds some big-name companies, like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft, but also smaller firms often mentioned in tweets, like GoPro, Tesla, and Baidu. "And yes, it also holds Twitter."

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Misjudging mutual funds

Don't be so quick to ditch that losing fund in your 401(k), said Gail MarksJarvis at the Chicago Tribune. Appearances can deceive, especially after rocky periods like this year's third quarter. If your mutual fund invests in large U.S. stocks like Apple and Walmart, you probably lost money to the tune of about 7 percent. But if your mutual fund invests in U.S. government bonds, your balance probably grew by about 3 percent. The stock fund may look like "an idiotic choice" right now, but holding a variety of funds is still your best bet over the long term. It's better to "compare your fund to the average fund like it." If your fund took a hit similar to that of the rest of its peers, "you don't have a loser."

Don't be a credit 'revolver'

It doesn't just matter if you pay your bills, but how you pay them, said Liz Weston at Reuters. Some credit reports now show whether you regularly pay your credit cards in full every month, and lenders increasingly use that information to decide your rates, terms, and whether to lend to you at all. Borrowers are classified as either low-risk "transactors" who pay their balance in full, or higher-risk "revolvers" who carry a balance. Revolvers are three times more likely to default on new credit cards and auto loans, and five times more likely to default on current cards, a study by credit bureau TransUnion found. The three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — added payment patterns to credit reports about two years ago and sell that data to lenders who create their own custom scores.

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