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Is STYAX a Strong Bond Fund Right Now?

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If investors are looking at the Government Mortgage - Intermediate fund category, Wells Fargo Core Plus Bond A (STYAX) could be a potential option. STYAX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Government Mortgage - Intermediate funds is an area filled with choices, such as STYAX. A mortgage-backed security (MBS) is a type of asset-backed security that packages mortgages together and then sells off the pooled securities. Government Mortgage - Intermediate funds focus on this market; this fund category presents a medium risk and yield profile, and concentrates on MBS with at least three years to maturity but less than 10.

History of Fund/Manager

Wells Fargo is based in San Francisco, CA, and is the manager of STYAX. The Wells Fargo Core Plus Bond A made its debut in July of 1998 and STYAX has managed to accumulate roughly $223.46 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 2.97%, and is 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 2.8%, 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, STYAX's standard deviation comes in at 3.13%, compared to the category average of 7%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 3.08% compared to the category average of 7.1%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Bond Duration

Modified duration is a measure of a specific bond's interest rate sensitivity, and is an excellent way to judge how fixed income securities will respond to a shifting rate environment.

For those that believe interest rates will rise, this is an important factor to consider. STYAX has a modified duration of 6.01, which suggests that the fund will decline 6.01% for every hundred-basis-point increase in interest rates.

Income

It is important to consider the fund's average coupon because income is often a big reason for purchasing a fixed income security. This metric takes a look at the average payout by the fund in a given year. For example, this fund's average coupon of 3.68% means that a $10,000 investment should result in a yearly payout of $368.

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

Because income is only one part of the bond picture, investors should also consider risk relative to broad benchmarks. This fund has a beta of 0.93, meaning that it is less volatile than a broad market index of fixed income securities. Taking this into account, STYAX has a positive alpha of 0.94, 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, STYAX has 54.63% in high quality bonds rated at least 'AA' or higher, while 30.18% are of medium quality, with ratings of 'A' to 'BBB'. The fund has an average quality of AA, and focuses on high quality securities.

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, STYAX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.94% compared to the category average of 0.84%. STYAX is actually more expensive than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

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

Bottom Line

Overall, Wells Fargo Core Plus Bond A ( STYAX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, Wells Fargo Core Plus Bond A ( STYAX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Don't stop here for your research on Government Mortgage - Intermediate funds. We also have plenty more on our site in order to help you find the best possible fund for your portfolio. Make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for more information about the world of funds, and feel free to compare STYAX to its peers as well 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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