Is Vanguard Diversified Equity Investor (VDEQX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Any investors hoping to find a Large Cap Blend fund could think about starting with Vanguard Diversified Equity Investor (VDEQX). VDEQX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on various forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

VDEQX is part of the Large Cap Blend section, an area that boasts an array of many possible options. Large Cap Blend mutual funds most often invest in firms with a market capitalization of $10 billion or more. By investing in bigger companies, these funds offer more stability, and are often well-suited for investors with a " buy and hold " mindset. Blended funds mix large, established companies into their holdings, which gives investors exposure to both value and growth at the same time.

History of Fund/Manager

Vanguard Group is based in Malvern, PA, and is the manager of VDEQX. Vanguard Diversified Equity Investor debuted in June of 2005. Since then, VDEQX has accumulated assets of about $2.60 billion, according to the most recently available information. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. VDEQX has a 5-year annualized total return of 13.48% and is 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 6.72%, which places it in the middle third during this time-frame.

It is important to note that the product's returns may not reflect all its expenses. Any fees not reflected would lower the returns. Total returns do not reflect the fund's [%] sale charge. If sales charges were included, total returns would have been lower.

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. VDEQX's standard deviation over the past three years is 18.47% compared to the category average of 20.93%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund's standard deviation is 19.94% compared to the category average of 21.17%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.07, which means it is hypothetically more volatile than the market at large. 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. VDEQX's 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -1.33, which means managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Investigating 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 mostly on equities that are traded in the United States.

Currently, this mutual fund is holding 95.42% in stocks and it has a negligible amount of assets in foreign securities. With turnover at about 7%, this fund is making fewer trades than the average comparable fund.

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, VDEQX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.35% compared to the category average of 0.94%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, VDEQX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $3,000, investors should also note that each subsequent investment needs to be at least $1.

Fees charged by investment advisors have not been taken into considiration. Returns would be less if those were included.

Bottom Line

Overall, Vanguard Diversified Equity Investor ( VDEQX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Vanguard Diversified Equity Investor ( VDEQX ) looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on VDEQXin the Large 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. Zacks provides a full suite of tools to help you analyze your portfolio - both funds and stocks - in the most efficient way possible.

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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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