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Is Hartford Capital Appreciation A (ITHAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Having trouble finding a Large Cap Blend fund? Hartford Capital Appreciation A (ITHAX - Free Report) is a possible starting point. ITHAX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

ITHAX is classified in the Large Cap Blend segment by Zacks, which is an area full of potential. Targeting companies with market caps of more than $10 billion, Large Cap Blend mutual funds offer a stable investment choice; these funds are perfect for investors with a " buy and hold " mindset. Since blended funds mix large, more established firms into their portfolios, investors are exposed to both value and growth opportunities.

History of Fund/Manager

Hartford is based in Woodbury, MN, and is the manager of ITHAX. Since Hartford Capital Appreciation A made its debut in July of 1996, ITHAX has garnered more than $5.37 billion in assets. Gregg Thomas is the fund's current manager and has held that role since March of 2013.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 13.61%, and is in the middle 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 14.45%, 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. ITHAX's standard deviation over the past three years is 19.79% compared to the category average of 15.41%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund's standard deviation is 16.34% compared to the category average of 13.04%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

The fund has a 5-year beta of 1.04, so investors should note that it is hypothetically more 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. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a negative alpha of -1.77. This means that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Exploring 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.

As of the last filing date, the mutual fund has 87.3% of its assets in stocks, with an average market capitalization of $165.95 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology
  2. Non-Durable
  3. Finance
  4. Industrial Cyclical
With turnover at about 80%, this fund makes more trades in a given year than the average of comparable funds.

Expenses

For investors, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is key, since costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing. Competition is heating up in this space, and a lower cost product will likely outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, all things being equal. In terms of fees, ITHAX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.07% compared to the category average of 0.97%. ITHAX is actually more expensive than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $2,000; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, Hartford Capital Appreciation A ( ITHAX ) 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.

This could just be the start of your research on ITHAXin the Large Cap Blend 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. 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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