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Is Plumb Balanced (PLBBX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Having trouble finding an Allocation Balanced fund? Plumb Balanced (PLBBX - Free Report) is a potential starting point. PLBBX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

PLBBX is classified in the Allocation Balanced segment by Zacks, which is an area full of possibilities. Here, investors are able to get a good head start with diversified mutual funds, and play around with core holding options for a portfolio of funds. Allocation Balanced funds look to invest across a balance of asset types, like stocks, bonds, and cash, though including precious metals or commodities is not unusual; these funds are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation.

History of Fund/Manager

Wisconsin Cap is based in Madison, WI, and is the manager of PLBBX. Since Plumb Balanced made its debut in May of 2007, PLBBX has garnered more than $102.29 million in assets. The fund's current manager, Thomas G. Plumb, has been in charge of the fund since May of 2007.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. PLBBX has a 5-year annualized total return of 11.87% and it sits 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 12%, 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. Over the past three years, PLBBX's standard deviation comes in at 14.5%, compared to the category average of 11.86%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund's standard deviation is 12.05% compared to the category average of 10.16%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

The fund has a 5-year beta of 0.76, so investors should note that it is hypothetically 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. With a positive alpha of 0.79, managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking 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, PLBBX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.19% compared to the category average of 0.89%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, PLBBX is actually more expensive than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $2,500; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, Plumb Balanced ( PLBBX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, Plumb Balanced ( PLBBX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Don't stop here for your research on Allocation Balanced funds. We also have plenty more on our site in order to help you find the best possible fund for your portfolio. Make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for more information about the world of funds, and feel free to compare PLBBX to its peers 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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