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Is Vanguard US Growth Investor (VWUSX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?


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On the lookout for a Large Cap Growth fund? Starting with Vanguard US Growth Investor VWUSX is one possibility. VWUSX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

VWUSX is classified in the Large Cap Growth segment by Zacks, an area full of possibilities. Companies are usually considered to be large-cap if their stock market valuation is more than $10 billion. Large Cap Growth mutual funds invest in many large U.S. firms that are projected to grow at a faster rate than their large-cap peers.

History of Fund/Manager

VWUSX finds itself in the Vanguard Group family, based out of Malvern, PA. Since Vanguard US Growth Investor made its debut in August of 1961, VWUSX has garnered more than $4.33 billion in assets. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 16.83%, 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 12.64%, 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. Over the past three years, VWUSX's standard deviation comes in at 11.39%, compared to the category average of 10.23%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 11.09% compared to the category average of 9.98%. 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 VWUSX's case, the fund lost 47.21% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 1.77%. This might suggest that the fund is a better choice than its peers during a bear market.

Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.01, which means it is hypothetically as volatile as 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. The fund has produced a positive alpha over the past 5 years of 1.89, which shows that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Examining 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 mostly on equities that are traded in the United States.

As of the last filing date, the mutual fund has 78.03% of its assets in stocks, which have an average market capitalization of $207.27 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology
  2. Finance

This fund's turnover is about 27%, so the fund managers are making fewer trades than the average comparable fund.

Expenses

Costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing, and particularly as competition heats up in this market. And all things being equal, a lower cost product will outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, so taking a closer look at these metrics is key for investors. In terms of fees, VWUSX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.43% compared to the category average of 1.12%. VWUSX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $3,000; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $1.

Bottom Line

Overall, Vanguard US Growth Investor has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Your research on the Large Cap Growth segment doesn't have to stop here. You can check out all the great mutual fund tools we have to offer by going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds to see the additional features we offer as well for additional information. And don't forget, Zacks has all of your needs covered on the equity side too! Make sure to check out Zacks.com for more information on our screening capabilities, Rank, and all our articles as well.


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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: VWUSX


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