Technology

Is TIAA-CREF Growth & Income Retirement (TRGIX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Having trouble finding a Large Cap Growth fund? TIAA-CREF Growth & Income Retirement (TRGIX) is a potential starting point. TRGIX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

TRGIX is part of the Large Cap Growth section, and this segment boasts an array of other possible options. Large Cap Growth mutual funds purchase stakes in numerous large U.S. companies that are expected to develop and grow at a faster rate than other large-cap stocks. Companies are usually considered to be large-cap if their market capitalization is over $10 billion.

History of Fund/Manager

TRGIX finds itself in the TIAA-CREF family, based out of Boston, MA. TIAA-CREF Growth & Income Retirement debuted in December of 2002. Since then, TRGIX has accumulated assets of about $537.30 million, according to the most recently available information. The fund's current manager, Susan Kempler, has been in charge of the fund since March of 2005.

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 9.65%, and it sits in the bottom third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 13.42%, which places it in the bottom 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 TRGIX over the past three years is 12.92% compared to the category average of 10.7%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 12.7% compared to the category average of 10.63%. 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. In TRGIX's case, the fund lost 45.91% 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 not forget about beta, an important way to measure a mutual fund's risk compared to the market as a whole. TRGIX has a 5-year beta of 1.05, which means it is likely to be more volatile than the market average. Another factor to consider is alpha, as it reflects a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark-in this case, the S&P 500. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a negative alpha of -1.39. This means 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.

This fund is currently holding about 90.3% stock in stocks, which have an average market capitalization of $224.48 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology
  2. Finance
  3. Non-Durable

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, TRGIX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.66% compared to the category average of 1.08%. So, TRGIX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

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

Bottom Line

Overall, TIAA-CREF Growth & Income Retirement ( TRGIX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively weak performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a great potential choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on TRGIXin the Large Cap Growth 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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