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Is ClearBridge Large Cap Growth A (SBLGX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Having trouble finding a Large Cap Growth fund? ClearBridge Large Cap Growth A (SBLGX - Free Report) is a potential starting point. SBLGX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

SBLGX is classified in the Large Cap Growth segment by Zacks, an area full of possibilities. Companies are usually considered to be large-cap if their stock market valuation is more than $10 billion. Large Cap Growth mutual funds invest in many large U.S. firms that are projected to grow at a faster rate than their large-cap peers.

History of Fund/Manager

Franklin Templeton is based in San Mateo, CA, and is the manager of SBLGX. ClearBridge Large Cap Growth A debuted in August of 1997. Since then, SBLGX has accumulated assets of about $2.97 billion, according to the most recently available information. The fund's current manager, Peter Bourbeau, has been in charge of the fund since July of 2009.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 20.53%, and is 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 21.37%, 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. The standard deviation of SBLGX over the past three years is 19.35% compared to the category average of 15.82%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 15.66% compared to the category average of 13.12%. 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 1, which means it is hypothetically as volatile as 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. SBLGX has generated a positive alpha over the past five years of 2.51, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Investigating 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 primarily on equities that are traded in the United States.

As of the last filing date, the mutual fund has 76.63% of its assets in stocks, which have an average market capitalization of $310.59 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology
  2. Retail Trade
  3. Other
Turnover is about 23%, so those in charge of the fund make fewer trades than comparable funds.

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, SBLGX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1% compared to the category average of 1.02%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, SBLGX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $1,000 and that each subsequent investment needs to be at $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, ClearBridge Large Cap Growth A ( SBLGX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, ClearBridge Large Cap Growth A ( SBLGX ) looks like a great potential choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on SBLGXin the Large Cap Growth 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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