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Is Conestoga Small Cap Investors (CCASX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?


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On the lookout for a Small Cap Blend fund? Starting with Conestoga Small Cap Investors (CCASX) should not be a possibility at this time. CCASX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 4 (Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

We classify CCASX in the Small Cap Blend category, an area rife with potential choices. Small Cap Blend mutual funds usually target companies with a market capitalization of less than $2 billion. A small-cap blend mutual fund allows investors to diversify their funds among various types of small-cap stocks, which can help reduce the volatility inherent in lower market cap companies.

History of Fund/Manager

Conestoga is based in Radnor, PA, and is the manager of CCASX. The Conestoga Small Cap Investors made its debut in October of 2004 and CCASX has managed to accumulate roughly $1.03 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by Robert Mitchell who has been in charge of the fund since October of 2004.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 14.19%, and it sits in the top third among its category peers. If you're interested in shorter time frames, do not dismiss looking at the fund's 3-year annualized total return of 22.77%, which places it in the top third during this time-frame.

When looking at a fund's performance, it is also important to note the standard deviation of the returns. The lower the standard deviation, the less volatility the fund experiences. The standard deviation of CCASX over the past three years is 15.55% compared to the category average of 12.36%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 16.08% compared to the category average of 12.57%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should always remember the downsides to a potential investment, and this segment carries some risks one should be aware of. In the most recent bear market, CCASX lost 42.32% and outperformed its peer group by 9.97%. This makes the fund a possibly better choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Investors should not forget about beta, an important way to measure a mutual fund's risk compared to the market as a whole. CCASX has a 5-year beta of 1.09, which means it is likely to be more volatile than the market average. Because alpha represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which is the S&P 500 in this case, one should pay attention to this metric as well. The fund has produced a positive alpha over the past 5 years of 2, which shows that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Exploring the equity holdings of a mutual fund is also a valuable exercise. This can show us how the manager is applying their stated methodology, as well as if there are any inherent biases in their approach. For this particular fund, the focus is principally on equities that are traded in the United States.

Right now, 92.68% of this mutual fund's holdings are stocks, with an average market capitalization of $2.38 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology
  2. Services
  3. Industrial Cyclical
  4. Other
Turnover is 9%, which means this fund makes fewer trades than comparable funds.

Expenses

As competition heats up in the mutual fund market, costs become increasingly important. Compared to its otherwise identical counterpart, a low-cost product will be an outperformer, all other things being equal. Thus, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is vital for investors. In terms of fees, CCASX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.10% compared to the category average of 1.05%. CCASX is actually more expensive than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $2,500, while there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, Conestoga Small Cap Investors ( CCASX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, strong performance, average downside risk, and higher fees compared to its peers.

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Small Cap Blend, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information. Want to learn even more? We have a full suite of tools on stocks that you can use to find the best choices for your portfolio too, no matter what kind of investor you are.


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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.





This article appears in: Investing , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: CCASX



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