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Is Hartford Balanced Income C (HBLCX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Any investors hoping to find an Allocation Balanced fund might consider looking past Hartford Balanced Income C (HBLCX - Free Report) . HBLCX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 4 (Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Zacks' Allocation Balanced funds is an area filled with options, such as HBLCX. These funds like to invest in a variety of asset types, finding a balance between stocks, bonds, cash, and sometimes even precious metals and commodities; they are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation. For investors, Allocation Balanced funds can provide an entry point into diversified mutual funds, and present core holding options for a portfolio of funds.

History of Fund/Manager

Hartford is responsible for HBLCX, and the company is based out of Woodbury, MN. Hartford Balanced Income C debuted in July of 2006. Since then, HBLCX has accumulated assets of about $3.15 billion, according to the most recently available information. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 6.9%, and is in the top 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 5.51%, 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. HBLCX's standard deviation over the past three years is 9.33% compared to the category average of 13.37%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 7.97% compared to the category average of 11.87%. 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 0.49, so it is likely going to be less 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. HBLCX has generated a negative alpha over the past five years of -0.76, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

Costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing, and particularly as competition heats up in this market. And all things being equal, a lower cost product will outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, so taking a closer look at these metrics is key for investors. In terms of fees, HBLCX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.64% compared to the category average of 0.89%. So, HBLCX is actually more expensive than its peers from a cost perspective.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $2,000 and that each subsequent investment needs to be at $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, Hartford Balanced Income C ( HBLCX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, Hartford Balanced Income C ( HBLCX ) looks like a poor potential choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on HBLCXin the Allocation Balanced 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. If you are more of a stock investor, make sure to also check out our Zacks Rank, and our full suite of tools we have available for novice and professional investors alike.


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