Is MassMutual Select Mid Cap Growth I (MEFZX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Having trouble finding a Mid Cap Growth fund? MassMutual Select Mid Cap Growth I (MEFZX) is a potential starting point. MEFZX 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 MEFZX is a Mid Cap Growth fund, and this area is also loaded with many different options. Companies are usually considered growth stocks when they consistently report notable sales and/or earnings growth. Thus, Mid Cap Growth funds pick stocks--usually companies with a market cap between $2 billion and $10 billion--that demonstrate extensive growth opportunities for investors compared to their peers.

History of Fund/Manager

MassMutual is based in Springfield, MA, and is the manager of MEFZX. Since MassMutual Select Mid Cap Growth I made its debut in November of 2010, MEFZX has garnered more than $5.93 billion in assets. The fund is currently managed by a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 10.06%, and is in the middle third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 11.46%, which places it in the middle 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. The standard deviation of MEFZX over the past three years is 13.66% compared to the category average of 10.7%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 12.89% compared to the category average of 10.53%. 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.

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.98, so it is likely going to be as volatile as the market at large. Alpha is an additional metric to take into consideration, since it represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which in this case, is the S&P 500. MEFZX's 5-year performance has produced a positive alpha of 1.02, which means managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Exploring the equity holdings of a mutual fund is also a valuable exercise. This can show us how the manager is applying their stated methodology, as well as if there are any inherent biases in their approach. For this particular fund, the focus is principally on equities that are traded in the United States.

The mutual fund currently has 83.09% of its holdings in stocks, with an average market capitalization of $18.82 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology
  2. Other
  3. Industrial Cyclical
This fund's turnover is about 37%, so the fund managers are making fewer trades than the average comparable fund.

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, MEFZX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.71% compared to the category average of 1.20%. MEFZX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $0, while there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, MassMutual Select Mid Cap Growth I ( MEFZX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Want even more information about MEFZX? Then go over to Zacks.com and check out our mutual fund comparison tool, and all of the other great features that we have to help you with your mutual fund analysis 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.

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