From Barrons: They cater to investors who are sick of actively managed mutual funds that earn a percentage above an undulating stock or bond benchmark.
Few people needed to know what absolute-return funds were until new ones started proliferating this year. Lipper defines them as seeking "positive returns in all market conditions" without measuring themselves against investable indexes. To do this, they might invest in derivatives. But according to Josh Charney, an analyst at Morningstar who covers alternative investments, absolute-return funds use so many different strategies to meet such different goals that any single definition would be "absolutely bogus."
Until recently, absolute-return was only for high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors. But now mainstream mutual-fund families are launching absolute-return funds with minimum ....