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Mutual Fund Commentary

By creating a diversified portfolio of both stocks and bonds, balanced funds ensure that they harness the inherent strengths of both classes of instruments. Most of the competently managed funds in this category keep the proportion of assets invested in different asset classes flexible and make adjustments in keeping with prevailing market conditions. This ensures that fixed-income securities protect the portfolio from losses during a downturn while equity securities harness maximum gains from a rising market.

Below we will share with you 5 top rated balanced mutual funds. Each has earned a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) as we expect the fund to outperform its peers in the future. To view the Zacks Rank and past performance of all balanced funds, investors can click here to see the complete list of funds.

Delaware Foundation Conservative Allocation A (DFIAX - MF report) seeks capital appreciation along with current income and capital protection. About 40% of its assets are invested in equity securities while 60% is invested in fixed income securities. Investment in foreign securities ranges between 5% to 50% of its assets. The balanced mutual fund returned 8.81% in the last one year period.

Francis Morris is the fund manager and has managed this balanced mutual fund since 2004.

AllianceBernstein Real Asset Strategy A (AMTAX - MF report) invests its assets in inflation-protected fixed income securities. It invests in foreign securities which are linked directly to other assets and currencies. The fund invests in TIPS, equity securities and derivatives. This non-diversified balanced mutual fund returned 2.17% over the last one year period.

As of April 2013, this balanced mutual fund held 510 issues, with 11.82% of its total assets invested in US Treasury Note.

Intrepid Capital (ICMBX - MF report) seeks capital growth on a long-term basis along with high income. This non-diversified fund mostly invests in undervalued small and mid-cap equity and high yield securities with a maturity period ranging between two and six years. This balanced mutual fund returned 10.89% over the last one year period.

The balanced mutual fund has a minimum initial investment of $2,500 and an expense ratio of 1.40% compared to a category average of 0.98%.

Leuthold Core Investment Retail (LCORX - MF report) invests in equity, debt and money market instruments. The proportion of assets allocated to investments in equity and debt securities is in the range of 30% and 70%. A maximum of 20% of its assets is invested in money market instruments. The balanced mutual fund returned 8.73% over the last one year period.

Steven R. Leuthold is the fund manager and has managed this balanced mutual fund since 1995.

Timothy Plan Defensive Strategies A (TPDAX - MF report) invests differing proportions of its assets in REITs, ETFs, Treasury Inflation Protection Securities and cash and cash equivalents. The fund does not take fixed positions in any particular asset class. This balanced mutual fund is non-diversified and returned -0.24% over the last one year period.

The balanced mutual fund has a minimum initial investment of $1,000 and an expense ratio of 1.33% compared to a category average of 0.91%.

To view the Zacks Rank and past performance of all balanced mutual funds, investors can click here to see the complete list of funds.

About Zacks Mutual Fund Rank

By applying the Zacks Rank to mutual funds, investors can find funds that not only outpaced the market in the past but are also expected to outperform going forward. Learn more about the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank at http://www.zacks.com/funds.

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