Technology

Is Baron Emerging Markets Retail (BEXFX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Looking for a Non US - Equity fund? You may want to consider Baron Emerging Markets Retail (BEXFX) as a possible option. BEXFX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

Zacks categorizes BEXFX as Non US - Equity, a segment stacked high with options. Non US - Equity mutual funds like to invest in companies outside of the United States, an important characteristic since global mutual funds are known to keep a good portion of their portfolio stateside. These kinds of funds can often extend across all cap levels, and will typically allocate their investments between emerging and developed markets.

History of Fund/Manager

BEXFX is a part of the Baron family of funds, a company based out of New York, NY. Since Baron Emerging Markets Retail made its debut in December of 2010, BEXFX has garnered more than $753.50 million in assets. The fund is currently managed by Michael Kass who has been in charge of the fund since December of 2010.

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 1.8%, and is 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 7.65%, 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. BEXFX's standard deviation over the past three years is 13.06% compared to the category average of 9.98%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 13.08% compared to the category average of 10.49%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors cannot discount the risks to this segment though, as it is always important to remember the downside for any potential investment.

Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.71, which means it is hypothetically less volatile than the market at large. 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. BEXFX's 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -4.6, which means managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

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, BEXFX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.36% compared to the category average of 1.20%. From a cost perspective, BEXFX is actually more expensive than its peers.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $2,000, while there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, Baron Emerging Markets Retail ( BEXFX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, strong performance, average downside risk, and higher fees compared to its peers.

Don't stop here for your research on Non US - Equity funds. We also have plenty more on our site in order to help you find the best possible fund for your portfolio. Make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for more information about the world of funds, and feel free to compare BEXFX to its peers 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.