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Is Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Any investors who are searching for Index funds should take a look at Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX - Free Report) . VGTSX has no Zacks Mutual Fund Rank, but we have been able to look into other metrics like performance, volatility, and cost.

History of Fund/Manager

VGTSX finds itself in the Vanguard Group family, based out of Malvern, PA. Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund debuted in April of 1996. Since then, VGTSX has accumulated assets of about $180.10 billion, according to the most recently available information. Michael Perre is the fund's current manager and has held that role since November of 2010.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 11.26%, and it sits in the bottom third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 5.63%, which places it in the bottom 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. VGTSX's standard deviation over the past three years is 18.16% compared to the category average of 15.32%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 15.27% compared to the category average of 12.83%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.9, so it is likely going to be 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. VGTSX has generated a negative alpha over the past five years of -3.21, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick 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, VGTSX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.17% compared to the category average of 0.80%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, VGTSX 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

Don't stop here for your research on Index 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 VGTSX to its peers as well for additional information. Zacks provides a full suite of tools to help you analyze your portfolio - both funds and stocks - in the most efficient way possible.


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