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Is BlackRock Exchange BlackRock (STSEX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Having trouble finding a Large Cap Growth fund? Well, BlackRock Exchange BlackRock (STSEX - Free Report) would not be a good potential starting point right now. STSEX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 4 (Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

STSEX is part of the Large Cap Growth section, and this segment boasts an array of other possible options. Large Cap Growth mutual funds purchase stakes in numerous large U.S. companies that are expected to develop and grow at a faster rate than other large-cap stocks. Companies are usually considered to be large-cap if their market capitalization is over $10 billion.

History of Fund/Manager

BlackRock is based in New York, NY, and is the manager of STSEX. BlackRock Exchange BlackRock made its debut in May of 1986, and since then, STSEX has accumulated about $182.44 million in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund's current manager, Lawrence Kemp, has been in charge of the fund since January of 2013.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 12.34%, and it sits in the middle third among its category peers. If you're interested in shorter time frames, do not dismiss looking at the fund's 3-year annualized total return of 10.92%, 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. STSEX's standard deviation over the past three years is 16.9% compared to the category average of 19.37%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 13.62% compared to the category average of 15.98%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

The fund has a 5-year beta of 0.85, so investors should note that it is hypothetically less volatile than the market at large. Another factor to consider is alpha, as it reflects a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark-in this case, the S&P 500. With a negative alpha of -0.62, managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Examining the equity holdings of a mutual fund is also a valuable exercise. This can show us how the manager is applying their stated methodology, as well as if there are any inherent biases in their approach. For this particular fund, the focus is principally on equities that are traded in the United States.

The mutual fund currently has 78.87% of its holdings in stocks, and these companies have an average market capitalization of $761.72 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology
  2. Finance
  3. Health
Turnover is 0%, which means this fund makes fewer trades than its comparable peers.

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, STSEX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.69% compared to the category average of 1.04%. From a cost perspective, STSEX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $0, investors should also note that there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, BlackRock Exchange BlackRock ( STSEX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, BlackRock Exchange BlackRock ( STSEX ) looks like a somewhat weak choice for investors right now.

Want even more information about STSEX? Then go over to Zacks.com and check out our mutual fund comparison tool, and all of the other great features that we have to help you with your mutual fund analysis 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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