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Is Pioneer Flexible Opportunities A (PMARX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Having trouble finding an Allocation Balanced fund? Well, Pioneer Flexible Opportunities A (PMARX - Free Report) would not be a good potential starting point right now. PMARX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 4 (Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

PMARX is classified in the Allocation Balanced segment by Zacks, which is an area full of possibilities. Here, investors are able to get a good head start with diversified mutual funds, and play around with core holding options for a portfolio of funds. Allocation Balanced funds look to invest across a balance of asset types, like stocks, bonds, and cash, though including precious metals or commodities is not unusual; these funds are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation.

History of Fund/Manager

Pioneer Invstestments is responsible for PMARX, and the company is based out of Boston, MA. Since Pioneer Flexible Opportunities A made its debut in May of 2010, PMARX has garnered more than $99.52 million in assets. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. PMARX has a 5-year annualized total return of 8.01% and is in the middle third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 6.3%, 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 PMARX over the past three years is 16.26% compared to the category average of 14.56%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 13.28% compared to the category average of 12.04%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

With a 5-year beta of 0.78, the fund is likely to be less volatile than the market average. 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. PMARX's 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -5.03, which means 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, PMARX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.20% compared to the category average of 0.89%. So, PMARX is actually more expensive than its peers from a cost perspective.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $1,000 and that each subsequent investment needs to be at $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, Pioneer Flexible Opportunities A ( PMARX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, this fund looks like a poor potential choice for investors right now.

For additional information on the Allocation Balanced 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 PMARX too 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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