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Is ProFunds UltraJapan Investor (UJPIX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?


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Any investors hoping to find a Japan - Equity fund could think about starting with ProFunds UltraJapan Investor UJPIX . UJPIX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

UJPIX is part of the Japan - Equity section, which is a segment that boasts many possible selections. Japan - Equity mutual funds mostly invest in Japan-based companies, which is one of the world's richest and most diversified economies. Japan's focus on exports allows them to be somewhat exposed to global economic trends, but investors should note that the country's lack of natural resources can also have an impact.

History of Fund/Manager

ProFunds is based in Columbus, OH, and is the manager of UJPIX. The ProFunds UltraJapan Investor made its debut in February of 2000 and UJPIX has managed to accumulate roughly $19.57 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by Alexander V. Ilyasov who has been in charge of the fund since November of 2009.

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 25.65%, and is 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 13.19%, 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 UJPIX over the past three years is 33.92% compared to the category average of 15.64%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 34.19% compared to the category average of 15.52%. 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 the most recent bear market, UJPIX lost 86.45% and underperformed comparable funds by 29.83%. This might suggest that the fund is a worse choice than its peers during a bear market.

Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.99, which means it is hypothetically more volatile than the market at large. Alpha is an additional metric to take into consideration, since it represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which in this case, is the S&P 500. With a negative alpha of -1.12, managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

For investors, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is key, since costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing. Competition is heating up in this space, and a lower cost product will likely outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, all things being equal. In terms of fees, UJPIX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.70% compared to the category average of 1.21%. So, UJPIX is actually more expensive than its peers from a cost perspective.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $15,000, while there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

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

This could just be the start of your research on UJPIX in the Japan - Equity category. Consider going to  www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds  for additional information about this fund, and all the others that we rank as well 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 , Mutual Funds
Referenced Symbols: UJPIX


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