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Is ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Service Class (SMPSX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?


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If you've been stuck searching for Sector - Tech funds, consider ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Service Class SMPSX as a possibility. SMPSX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

SMPSX is part of the Sector - Tech category, which boasts an array of different possible selections. With a much more diversified approach, Sector - Tech mutual funds give investors a way to own a stake in a notoriously risky sector. Tech companies are in various industries like semiconductors, software, internet, and networking, among others.

History of Fund/Manager

ProFunds is based in Columbus, OH, and is the manager of SMPSX. ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Service Class made its debut in June of 2000, and since then, SMPSX has accumulated about $4.15 million in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. Michael Neches is the fund's current manager and has held that role since October of 2013.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 36.64%, and it sits in the top third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 26.93%, 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. Compared to the category average of 11.94%, the standard deviation of SMPSX over the past three years is 28.05%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 24.54% compared to the category average of 13.71%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

One cannot ignore the volatility of this segment, however, as it is always important for investors to remember the downside to any potential investment. In SMPSX's case, the fund lost 74.41% in the most recent bear market and underperformed comparable funds by 21.61%. This could mean that the fund is a worse choice than comparable funds during a bear market.

Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.76, which means it is hypothetically more volatile than the market at large. 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. SMPSX's 5-year performance has produced a positive alpha of 8.34, which means managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

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, SMPSX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 2.46% compared to the category average of 1.37%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, SMPSX is actually more expensive than its peers.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $15,000 and that each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Service Class has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, worse downside risk, and higher fees, ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Service Class looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Want even more information about SMPSX? Then go over to Zacks.com and check out our mutual fund comparison tool, and all of the other great features that we have to help you with your mutual fund analysis for additional information. If you want to check out our stock reports as well, make sure to go to Zacks.com to see all of the great tools we have to offer, including our time-tested Zacks Rank.


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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 , Mutual Funds
Referenced Symbols: SMPSX


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