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Is Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Index Investor (VDAIX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

There are plenty of choices in the Large Cap Blend category, but where should you start your research? Well, one fund that might be worth investigating is Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Index Investor VDAIX . VDAIX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

VDAIX 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 responsible for VDAIX, and the company is based out of Malvern, PA. Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Index Investor made its debut in April of 2006, and since then, VDAIX has accumulated about $1.11 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund's current manager, Walter Nejman, has been in charge of the fund since May of 2016.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. VDAIX has a 5-year annualized total return of 11.02% 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 12.09%, 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 VDAIX over the past three years is 9.23% compared to the category average of 9.64%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 9.49% compared to the category average of 9.41%. 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. In VDAIX's case, the fund lost 41.05% in the most recent bear market and underperformed its peer group by 8.62%. This might suggest that the fund is a worse choice than its peers 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. VDAIX has a 5-year beta of 0.93, which means it is likely to be less volatile than the market average. Alpha is an additional metric to take into consideration, since it represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which in this case, is the S&P 500. The fund has produced a negative alpha over the past 5 years of -1.03, which shows that 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, VDAIX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.15% compared to the category average of 1%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, VDAIX is actually cheaper than its peers.

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

Bottom Line

Overall, Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Index Investor has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a great potential choice for investors right now.

For additional information on the Large Cap Blend 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 VDAIX too 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.


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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