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Is Conestoga Small Cap Investors (CCASX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Looking for a Small Cap Blend fund? You may want to consider Conestoga Small Cap Investors (CCASX) as a possible option. CCASX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

CCASX is one of many Small Cap Blend funds to choose from. Small Cap Blend mutual funds allow investors a way to diversify their funds among various types of small-cap stocks. These funds seek companies with market capitalization of less than $2 billion, and aid in reducing volatility inherent in lower market cap stocks.

History of Fund/Manager

CCASX finds itself in the Conestoga family, based out of Radnor, PA. The Conestoga Small Cap Investors made its debut in October of 2004 and CCASX has managed to accumulate roughly $858.26 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by Robert Mitchell who has been in charge of the fund since October of 2004.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 14.88%, and it sits 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 24.72%, 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, CCASX's standard deviation comes in at 13.53%, compared to the category average of 11.26%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 14.39% compared to the category average of 11.13%. 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. CCASX lost 42.31% in the most recent bear market and underperformed its peer group by 10.19%. This makes the fund a possibly worse choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Investors should not forget about beta, an important way to measure a mutual fund's risk compared to the market as a whole. CCASX has a 5-year beta of 1.02, which means it is likely to be as volatile as 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. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a positive alpha of 1.19. This means that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking 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, CCASX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.10% compared to the category average of 1.10%. So, CCASX is actually on par with its peers from a cost perspective.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $2,500, investors should also note that there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, Conestoga Small Cap Investors ( CCASX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and on par fees, this fund looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on CCASXin the Small Cap Blend 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.


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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