Technology

Is American Funds Washington Mutual Investors F (WSHFX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

If you have been looking for Large Cap Value fund category, a potential starting could be American Funds Washington Mutual Investors F (WSHFX). WSHFX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

Large Cap Value mutual funds invest in stocks with a market capitalization of $10 billion or more, but whose share prices do not reflect their intrinsic value; this value investing strategy often leads to low P/E ratios and high dividend yields, though growth levels are often curtailed. The high-growth opportunity of these funds are slowed even further, as large-cap securities are generally in stable industries with low to moderate growth prospects. Therefore, Large Cap Value funds are usually more appealing to investors who are interested in a stable income stream.

History of Fund/Manager

American Funds is responsible for WSHFX, and the company is based out of Los Angeles, CA. Since American Funds Washington Mutual Investors F made its debut in July of 1952, WSHFX has garnered more than $2.53 billion in assets. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.

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 11.38%, and it sits in the middle third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 7.78%, which places it in the bottom 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 WSHFX over the past three years is 15.93% compared to the category average of 14.23%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 13.58% compared to the category average of 12.41%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

With a 5-year beta of 0.89, the fund is likely to be less volatile than the market average. Another factor to consider is alpha, as it reflects a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark-in this case, the S&P 500. WSHFX's 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -1.19, which means 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, WSHFX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.64% compared to the category average of 0.97%. WSHFX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $250 and that each subsequent investment needs to be at $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, American Funds Washington Mutual Investors F ( WSHFX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on WSHFXin the Large Cap Value 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. For analysis of the rest of your portfolio, make sure to visit Zacks.com for our full suite of tools which will help you investigate all of your stocks and funds in one place.


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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.

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