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Is T. Rowe Price Equity Income Fund (PRFDX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

If you have been looking for Large Cap Value funds, a place to start could be T. Rowe Price Equity Income Fund (PRFDX). PRFDX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

PRFDX is classified in the Large Cap Value segment by Zacks, which is an area full of possibilities. Investors interested in a stable income stream fund these mutual funds very appealing because they have a unique investing strategy. Large Cap Value funds invest in stocks with a market capitalization of $10 billion or more, but whose share prices do not reflect their intrinsic value. This tactic often leads to low P/E ratios and high dividend yields; however, these funds'high growth opportunity are often slowed, as large-cap securities are generally in stable industries with low to moderate growth prospects.

History of Fund/Manager

T. Rowe Price is responsible for PRFDX, and the company is based out of Baltimore, MD. T. Rowe Price Equity Income Fund made its debut in October of 1985, and since then, PRFDX has accumulated about $16.40 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. John D. Linehan is the fund's current manager and has held that role since November of 2015.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 9.36%, and it sits 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 14.86%, 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 PRFDX over the past three years is 9.78% compared to the category average of 9.18%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 9.98% compared to the category average of 8.92%. 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 the most recent bear market, PRFDX lost 52.57% and outperformed its peer group by 2.26%. This might suggest that the fund is a better choice than its peers during a bear market.

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. 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. With a negative alpha of -3.76, managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick 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, PRFDX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.64% compared to the category average of 1.03%. PRFDX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $2,500; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, T. Rowe Price Equity Income Fund ( PRFDX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, T. Rowe Price Equity Income Fund ( PRFDX ) looks like a great potential choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on PRFDXin the Large Cap Value 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. And don't forget, Zacks has all of your needs covered on the equity side too! Make sure to check out Zacks.com for more information on our screening capabilities, Rank, and all our articles as well.

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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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