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Is ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Investor (SMPIX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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On the lookout for a Sector - Tech fund? Starting with ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Investor (SMPIX) should not be a possibility at this time. SMPIX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 4 (Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Sector - Tech funds is an area filled with options, and SMPIX is one of them. Sector - Tech mutual funds allow investors to own a stake in a notoriously volatile sector with a much more diversified approach. Tech companies can be in any number of industries such as semiconductors, software, internet, networking just to name a few.

History of Fund/Manager

ProFunds is based in Columbus, OH, and is the manager of SMPIX. The ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Investor made its debut in June of 2000 and SMPIX has managed to accumulate roughly $245.14 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund's current manager, Michael Neches, has been in charge of the fund since October of 2013.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 26.27%, 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 27.71%, 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. The standard deviation of SMPIX over the past three years is 28.09% compared to the category average of 12.02%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 27.71% compared to the category average of 11.57%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should always remember the downsides to a potential investment, and this segment carries some risks one should be aware of. SMPIX lost 74.08% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 20.77%. This makes the fund a possibly better choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.91, which means it is hypothetically 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. The fund has produced a positive alpha over the past 5 years of 6.5, which shows that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

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, SMPIX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.44% compared to the category average of 1.35%. So, SMPIX is actually more expensive than its peers from a cost perspective.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $15,000, investors should also note that there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Investor ( SMPIX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, worse downside risk, and higher fees, ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Investor ( SMPIX ) looks like a poor potential choice for investors right now.

For additional information on the Sector - Tech area of the mutual fund world, make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds . There, you can see more about the ranking process, and dive even deeper into SMPIX too 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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