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Is Schwab International Index (SWISX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Any investors who are searching for Index funds should take a look at Schwab International Index (SWISX - Free Report) . The fund does not have a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank, though we have been able to explore other metrics like performance, volatility, and cost.

History of Fund/Manager

Schwab Funds is responsible for SWISX, and the company is based out of San Francisco, CA. Since Schwab International Index made its debut in May of 1997, SWISX has garnered more than $5.94 billion in assets. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 10.25%, 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 8.47%, 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. Over the past three years, SWISX's standard deviation comes in at 18%, compared to the category average of 16.72%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund's standard deviation is 14.81% compared to the category average of 13.97%. 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. SWISX has a 5-year beta of 0.85, which means it is likely to be less 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. SWISX has generated a negative alpha over the past five years of -4.16, 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, SWISX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.06% compared to the category average of 0.79%. SWISX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $0 and that each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

For additional information on the Index area of the mutual fund world, make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds. There, you can see more about the ranking process, and dive even deeper into SWISX too 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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