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Is T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund (PRSCX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If investors are looking at the Sector - Tech fund category, T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund (PRSCX - Free Report) could be a potential option. PRSCX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

We note that PRSCX is a Sector - Tech option, and this area is loaded with many options. Found in a wide number of industries such as semiconductors, software, internet, and networking, tech companies are everywhere. Thus, Sector - Tech mutual funds that invest in technology let investors own a stake in a notoriously volatile sector, but with a much more diversifies approach.

History of Fund/Manager

T. Rowe Price is based in Baltimore, MD, and is the manager of PRSCX. T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund made its debut in September of 1987, and since then, PRSCX has accumulated about $6.45 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund is currently managed by Kennard W. Allen who has been in charge of the fund since January of 2009.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. PRSCX has a 5-year annualized total return of 28.29% and is in the top 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 22.87%, 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. Compared to the category average of 17.81%, the standard deviation of PRSCX over the past three years is 22.21%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 18.13% compared to the category average of 14.96%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should not forget about beta, an important way to measure a mutual fund's risk compared to the market as a whole. PRSCX has a 5-year beta of 1.09, which means it is likely to be more volatile than the market average. 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 positive alpha of 9.7, managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

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, PRSCX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.78% compared to the category average of 1.36%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, PRSCX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $2,500, investors should also note that each subsequent investment needs to be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund ( PRSCX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund ( PRSCX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Don't stop here for your research on Sector - Tech 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 PRSCX to its peers 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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