Technology

Is Fidelity Japan Fund (FJPNX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Japan - Equity fund seekers should consider taking a look at Fidelity Japan Fund (FJPNX). FJPNX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

We note that FJPNX is a Japan - Equity option, an area loaded with different choices. Primarily invest in companies in one of the world's richest and most diversified economies, Japan. While the country remains partially exposed to global economic trends due to its export focus, its lack of natural resources can also impact the nation.

History of Fund/Manager

FJPNX is a part of the Fidelity family of funds, a company based out of Boston, MA. The Fidelity Japan Fund made its debut in September of 1992 and FJPNX has managed to accumulate roughly $159.26 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund's current manager, Kirk Neureiter, has been in charge of the fund since March of 2014.

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 12.57%, and it sits in the top third among its category peers. But if you are looking for a shorter time frame, it is also worth looking at its 3-year annualized total return of 10.45%, 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, FJPNX's standard deviation comes in at 16.23%, compared to the category average of 15.33%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 13.63% compared to the category average of 12.78%. 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. FJPNX has a 5-year beta of 0.73, which means it 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. The fund has produced a negative alpha over the past 5 years of -0.34, which shows that 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, FJPNX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.07% compared to the category average of 1.48%. So, FJPNX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $0; each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, Fidelity Japan Fund ( FJPNX ) 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 Japan - Equity 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. Zacks provides a full suite of tools to help you analyze your portfolio - both funds and stocks - in the most efficient way possible.


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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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