Is ClearBridge Large Cap Growth A (SBLGX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

If you have been looking for Large Cap Growth funds, a place to start could be ClearBridge Large Cap Growth A (SBLGX). SBLGX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on various forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

We classify SBLGX in the Large Cap Growth category, an area rife with potential choices. Large Cap Growth funds invest in many large U.S. companies that are expected to grow much faster compared to other large-cap stocks. To be considered large-cap, companies must have a market cap over $10 billion.

History of Fund/Manager

Franklin is based in San Mateo, CA, and is the manager of SBLGX. Since ClearBridge Large Cap Growth A made its debut in August of 1997, SBLGX has garnered more than $3.45 billion in assets. The fund's current manager, Peter Bourbeau, has been in charge of the fund since July of 2009.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 12.1%, and is in the middle 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 5.48%, which places it in the middle third during this time-frame.

It is important to note that the product's returns may not reflect all its expenses. Any fees not reflected would lower the returns. Total returns do not reflect the fund's [%] sale charge. If sales charges were included, total returns would have been lower.

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 15.39%, the standard deviation of SBLGX over the past three years is 21.51%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 21.02% compared to the category average of 16.18%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should not forget about beta, an important way to measure a mutual fund's risk compared to the market as a whole. SBLGX has a 5-year beta of 1.08, which means it is likely to be more 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. SBLGX's 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -1.44, 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, SBLGX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.05% compared to the category average of 0.95%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, SBLGX is actually more expensive than its peers.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $1,000, and each subsequent investment should be at least $50.

Fees charged by investment advisors have not been taken into considiration. Returns would be less if those were included.

Bottom Line

Overall, even with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, ClearBridge Large Cap Growth A ( SBLGX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and therefore looks 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. If you are more of a stock investor, make sure to also check out our Zacks Rank, and our full suite of tools we have available for novice and professional investors alike.

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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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