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Peabody Energy 401K Plan Provides Reasonable Investment Choices

|Includes:AGG, BIV, BND, Peabody Energy Corp. (BTUUQ), CIU, DEM, DLN, DON, DWM, EEM, EFA, EFV, EZM, GMM, GWL, IDHQ, IJH, IJT, IUSG, IUSV, IVE, IVV, IVW, IWO, IWR, IWV, IYY, JKE, JKF, JKG, JKK, MDY, MVV, PID, PWV, PXH, PXMC, QQQ, RPG, RPV, RSCO, RSP, SCHE, SCHG, SCHV, SCHX, SPY, SPYG, SPYV, TZD, TZE, TZG, TZI, TZL, VB, VEU, VO, VTI, VTV, VUG, VV, VWO

 This report reviews PEABODY WESTERN-UMWA 401(NYSE:K) plan. We will discuss the investment choices and present the plan rating by MyPlanIQ. Current economic and market conditions are discussed in the context of the investment portfolios in the plan. We will then show how participants in PEABODY WESTERN-UMWA 401(K) PLAN can achieve reasonable investment results using asset allocation strategies.

 

Plan Review and Rating

 

Peabody Energy Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration, mining, and production of coal worldwide.

PEABODY WESTERN-UMWA 401(K) PLAN consists of 18 funds. These funds enable participants to gain exposure to 4 major assets: US Equity, Foreign Equity, Emerging Market Equity, Fixed Income. The list of minor asset classes covered:

Diversified Emerging Mkts: EEM, GMM, PXH, DEM, SCHE
Foreign Large Blend: EFA, VEU, GWL, PFA
Foreign Large Value: EFV, PID, DWM
Intermediate-term Bond: AGG, CIU, BIV, BND
Large Blend: IVV, IYY, IWV, VTI, VV, SPY, DLN, RSP, SCHX
Large Growth: IVW, IWZ, JKE, VUG, ELG, QQQQ, RPG, SCHG
Large Value: IVE, IWW, JKF, VTV, ELV, PWV, RPV, SCHV
Mid-cap Blend: IJH, IWR, JKG, VO, MDY, EMM, PJG, DON, EZM, MVV
Retirement Income:
Small Growth: IJT, IWO, JKK, VBK, DSG, PWT, RZG, UKK
Target Date 2000-2010: TZD
Target Date 2011-2015: TZE
Target Date 2016-2020: TZG
Target Date 2021-2025: TZI
Target Date 2026-2030: TZL

As of Dec 2, 2010, this plan investment choice is rated as based on MyPlanIQ Plan Rating methodology that measures the effectiveness of a plan's available investment funds. It has the following detailed ratings:

Diversification -- Rated as (51%)
Fund Quality -- Rated as (74%)
Portfolio Building -- Rated as (67%)
Overall Rating: (65%)

 

Current Economic and Market Conditions

We have experienced an uncertain 2010: plenty of worries on whether the US economy will climb out of the great recession and recover.

  • The Federal Reserve embarked on Quantitative Easing II (QE2) to stimulate the economy.
  • The housing market is still at its low but largely stabilized.
  • The unemployment rate is stuck at 9%.

Americans continue to face an uncertain future, given (among others) the high unemployment rate, large federal and local government debts and global trade imbalance. With such an economic backdrop, the stock and debt markets are going to be volatile. Despite this, markets have been resilient and appear positioned to rebound.

In this market it is even more critical to properly diversify and respond market changes. MyPlanIQ offers two asset allocation strategies: strategic and tactical asset allocation strategies ( SAA and TAA for participants in PEABODY WESTERN-UMWA 401(K) PLAN).

Strategic Asset Allocation is based on well known modern portfolio theory and its key features include: diversification, proper fund selection and periodically re-balancing.

Tactical Asset Allocation works on a diversified array of assets provided by funds in a plan and adjusts asset mixes based on market conditions such as asset price momentum utilized by TAA.

 

Portfolio Discussions

The chart and table below show the historical performance of moderate model portfolios employing strategic and tactical asset allocation strategies. For comparison purpose, we also include the moderate model portfolios of a typical 4 asset SIB (Simpler Is Better) plan . This SIB plan has the following candidate index funds and their ETFs equivalent:

US Equity: (SPY or VTI)
Foreign Equity: (EFA or VEU)
Emerging Market Equity: (EEM or VWO)
Fixed Income: (AGG or BND)

Performance chart (as of Dec 2, 2010)

Performance table (as of Dec 2, 2010)

Portfolio Name 1Yr AR 1Yr Sharpe 3Yr AR 3Yr Sharpe 5Yr AR 5Yr Sharpe
PEABODY WESTERN-UMWA 401(K) PLAN Tactical Asset Allocation Moderate 3% 21% 6% 56% 12% 98%
PEABODY WESTERN-UMWA 401(K) PLAN Strategic Asset Allocation Moderate 9% 94% 2% 13% 7% 44%
Four Core Asset ETF Index Funds Emerging Markets Tactical Asset Allocation Moderate 1% 6% 6% 49% 12% 78%
Four Core Asset ETF Index Funds Emerging Markets Strategic Asset Allocation Moderate 10% 75% 2% 6% 7% 31%
Click to enlarge

Currently, asset classes in US Equity (SPY,VTI), Foreign Equity (EFA,VEU) and Emerging Market Equity (EEM,VWO) are doing relatively well. These asset classes are available to PEABODY WESTERN-UMWA 401(K) PLAN participants.

To summarize, PEABODY WESTERN-UMWA 401(K) PLAN plan participants can achieve reasonable investment returns by adopting asset allocation strategies that are tailored to their risk profiles.