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Is Matthews Asia Innovators Investor (MATFX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

If you have been looking for Sector - Tech funds, it would not be wise to start your search with Matthews Asia Innovators Investor (MATFX). MATFX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 4 (Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

MATFX is part of the Sector - Tech category, which boasts an array of different possible selections. With a much more diversified approach, Sector - Tech mutual funds give investors a way to own a stake in a notoriously risky sector. Tech companies are in various industries like semiconductors, software, internet, and networking, among others.

History of Fund/Manager

Matthews Asia is based in San Francisco, CA, and is the manager of MATFX. Since Matthews Asia Innovators Investor made its debut in December of 1999, MATFX has garnered more than $181.41 million in assets. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. MATFX has a 5-year annualized total return of 12.4% 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 13.36%, which places it in the middle 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 MATFX over the past three years is 15.65% compared to the category average of 12.02%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund's standard deviation is 15.25% compared to the category average of 11.57%. 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. MATFX lost 61.83% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 8.52%. This could mean that the fund is a better choice than comparable funds during a bear market.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.05, so investors should note that it is hypothetically more volatile than the market at large. 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. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a negative alpha of -1.89. This means that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

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, MATFX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.12% compared to the category average of 1.35%. So, MATFX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $2,500 and that each subsequent investment needs to be at $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, Matthews Asia Innovators Investor ( MATFX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a somewhat weak choice for investors right now.

Your research on the Sector - Tech segment doesn't have to stop here. You can check out all the great mutual fund tools we have to offer by going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds to see the additional features we offer 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.


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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