There are plenty of choices in the Non US – Equity category, but where should you start your research? Well, one fund that you should consider investigating is Baron Emerging Markets Retail (BEXFX). BEXFX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.
Zacks categorizes BEXFX as Non US – Equity, a segment stacked high with options. Non US – Equity mutual funds like to invest in companies outside of the United States, an important characteristic since global mutual funds are known to keep a good portion of their portfolio stateside. These kinds of funds can often extend across all cap levels, and will typically allocate their investments between emerging and developed markets.
History of Fund/Manager
Baron is responsible for BEXFX, and the company is based out of New York, NY. Baron Emerging Markets Retail made its debut in December of 2010, and since then, BEXFX has accumulated about $507.70 million in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund’s current manager, Michael Kass, has been in charge of the fund since December of 2010.
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 13.38%, 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 10.41%, 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 BEXFX over the past three years is 20.8% compared to the category average of 16.75%. The fund’s standard deviation over the past 5 years is 17.46% compared to the category average of 13.99%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.
Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.81, which means it is hypothetically less volatile than 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. BEXFX has generated a positive alpha over the past five years of 0.1, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.
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, BEXFX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.35% compared to the category average of 1.18%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, BEXFX is actually more expensive than its peers.
Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $2,000 and that each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.
Overall, Baron Emerging Markets Retail ( BEXFX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, this fund looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.
Your research on the Non US – Equity 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. For analysis of the rest of your portfolio, make sure to visit Zacks.com for our full suite of tools which will help you investigate all of your stocks and funds in one place.
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