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Is Schwab Total Stock Market (SWTSX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you're looking for an Index fund category, then a possible option is Schwab Total Stock Market (SWTSX - 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

SWTSX is a part of the Schwab Funds family of funds, a company based out of San Francisco, CA. Schwab Total Stock Market made its debut in June of 1999, and since then, SWTSX has accumulated about $15.93 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund is currently managed by a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 16.77%, 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 15.92%, 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. SWTSX's standard deviation over the past three years is 19.76% compared to the category average of 19.04%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund's standard deviation is 15.89% compared to the category average of 15.5%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

The fund has a 5-year beta of 1.04, so investors should note that it is hypothetically more volatile than the market at large. Because alpha represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which is the S&P 500 in this case, one should pay attention to this metric as well. With a negative alpha of -0.61, managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Examining 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 95.72% of its assets in stocks, with an average market capitalization of $330.87 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology
  2. Finance
  3. Retail Trade
With turnover at about 2%, this fund is making fewer trades than the average comparable fund.

Expenses

Costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing, and particularly as competition heats up in this market. And all things being equal, a lower cost product will outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, so taking a closer look at these metrics is key for investors. In terms of fees, SWTSX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.03% compared to the category average of 0.79%. SWTSX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

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

Your research on the Index segment doesn't have to stop here. You can check out all the great mutual fund tools we have to offer by going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds to see the additional features we offer 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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