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Is LBNDX a Strong Bond Fund Right Now?

Have you been searching for a High Yield - Bonds fund? You might want to begin with Lord Abbett Bond Debenture A (LBNDX). LBNDX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

LBNDX is classified in the High Yield - Bonds segment by Zacks, an area full of investment possibilities. High Yield - Bonds funds come in below investment grade, and are referred to as " junk " bonds for this reason. Compared to their investment grade peers, these funds are at a higher default risk, but typically pay out higher yields while posing similar interest rate risks.

History of Fund/Manager

LBNDX is a part of the Lord Abbett family of funds, a company based out of Jersey City, NJ. The Lord Abbett Bond Debenture A made its debut in April of 1971 and LBNDX has managed to accumulate roughly $4.68 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

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 4.18%, 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 5.51%, 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, LBNDX's standard deviation comes in at 4.51%, compared to the category average of 8.08%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 4.52% compared to the category average of 8.22%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Bond Duration

Modified duration is a measure of a given bond's interest rate sensitivity, and is a metric that's a good way to judge how fixed income securities will respond in a shifting rate environment.

For those that believe interest rates will rise, this is an important factor to consider. LBNDX has a modified duration of 4.4, which suggests that the fund will decline 4.4% for every hundred-basis-point increase in interest rates.

Income

Since income is, of course, a big reason for purchasing a fixed income security, it is always important to consider the fund's average coupon. A fund's average coupon is simply its average payout in a given year. For example, this fund's average coupon of 5.62% means that a $10,000 investment should result in a yearly payout of $562.

For those seeking a strong level of current income, a higher coupon is typically good news. However, it could pose a reinvestment risk if rates are lower in the future when compared to the initial purchase date of the bond.

Investors also need to consider risk relative to broad benchmarks, as income is only one part of the bond picture. This fund has a beta of 0.42, meaning that it is less volatile than a broad market index of fixed income securities. Taking this into account, LBNDX has a positive alpha of 2.92, which measures performance on a risk-adjusted basis.

Ratings

Investors should also consider a bond's rating, which is a grade ( 'AAA' to 'D' ) given to a bond that indicates its credit quality. With this letter scale in mind, LBNDX has 28.94% in medium quality bonds, with ratings of 'A' to 'BBB'. The fund's junk bond component-bonds rated 'BB' or below-is at 58.62%, giving LBNDX an average quality of BBB. This means that it focuses on medium quality securities.

Expenses

As competition heats up in the mutual fund market, costs become increasingly important. Compared to its otherwise identical counterpart, a low-cost product will be an outperformer, all other things being equal. Thus, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is vital for investors. In terms of fees, LBNDX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.78% compared to the category average of 1.03%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, LBNDX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $1,000 and that each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, Lord Abbett Bond Debenture A ( LBNDX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the High Yield - Bonds, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds 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.


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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