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Is T. Rowe Price Japan Fund (PRJPX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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On the lookout for a Japan - Equity fund? Starting with T. Rowe Price Japan Fund (PRJPX - Free Report) is one possibility. PRJPX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Japan - Equity funds is an area filled with choices, and one such option is PRJPX. Japan - Equity mutual funds invest primarily in companies based in Japan, one of the world's richest and most diversified economies. The country remains somewhat exposed to global economic trends with its export focus, while its lack of natural resources also can impact the nation.

History of Fund/Manager

T. Rowe Price is based in Baltimore, MD, and is the manager of PRJPX. Since T. Rowe Price Japan Fund made its debut in December of 1991, PRJPX has garnered more than $686.14 million in assets. The fund is currently managed by Archibald Ciganer who has been in charge of the fund since December of 2013.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. PRJPX has a 5-year annualized total return of 14.03% and it sits 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 10.67%, 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. PRJPX's standard deviation over the past three years is 17.9% compared to the category average of 15.81%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 14.89% compared to the category average of 13.29%. 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 0.71, so it is likely going to be less volatile than the market at large. Alpha is an additional metric to take into consideration, since it represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which in this case, is the S&P 500. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a positive alpha of 1.51. This means that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking 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, PRJPX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.95% compared to the category average of 1.48%. From a cost perspective, PRJPX is actually cheaper than its peers.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $2,500, and each subsequent investment should be at least $100.

Bottom Line

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

Want even more information about PRJPX? Then go over to Zacks.com and check out our mutual fund comparison tool, and all of the other great features that we have to help you with your mutual fund analysis 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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