Technology

Is Pioneer Select Mid Cap Growth A (PGOFX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Any investors hoping to find a Small Cap Blend fund could think about starting with Pioneer Select Mid Cap Growth A (PGOFX). PGOFX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

We classify PGOFX in the Small Cap Blend category, an area rife with potential choices. Small Cap Blend mutual funds usually target companies with a market capitalization of less than $2 billion. A small-cap blend mutual fund allows investors to diversify their funds among various types of small-cap stocks, which can help reduce the volatility inherent in lower market cap companies.

History of Fund/Manager

PGOFX finds itself in the Pioneer Invstestments family, based out of Canton, MA. Pioneer Select Mid Cap Growth A made its debut in January of 1968, and since then, PGOFX has accumulated about $1.20 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund's current manager is 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 10.36%, and it sits in the middle 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 16.57%, 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 PGOFX over the past three years is 15.11% compared to the category average of 10.68%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 14.25% compared to the category average of 10.59%. 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. In PGOFX's case, the fund lost 49.05% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 3%. This could mean that the fund is a better choice than comparable funds during a bear market.

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.1, so it is likely going to be more volatile than the market at large. Because alpha represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which is the S&P 500 in this case, one should pay attention to this metric as well. PGOFX has generated a negative alpha over the past five years of -1.03, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Examining 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 largely on equities that are traded in the United States.

The mutual fund currently has 95.79% of its holdings in stocks, with an average market capitalization of $17.30 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology
  2. Non-Durable
  3. Services

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, PGOFX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.02% compared to the category average of 1.22%. So, PGOFX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $1,000 and that each subsequent investment needs to be at $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, Pioneer Select Mid Cap Growth A ( PGOFX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Pioneer Select Mid Cap Growth A ( PGOFX ) looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on PGOFXin 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. If you want to check out our stock reports as well, make sure to go to Zacks.com to see all of the great tools we have to offer, including our time-tested Zacks Rank.


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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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