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Is SWCAX a Strong Bond Fund Right Now?

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Have you been searching for a Mutual Fund Bond fund? You might want to begin with Schwab California Tax-Free Bond Fund (SWCAX - Free Report) . SWCAX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

History of Fund/Manager

Schwab Funds is responsible for SWCAX, and the company is based out of San Francisco, CA. The Schwab California Tax-Free Bond Fund made its debut in February of 1992 and SWCAX has managed to accumulate roughly $461 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. SWCAX has a 5-year annualized total return of 1.01% and is in the middle third among its category peers. But if you are looking for a shorter time frame, it is also worth looking at its 3-year annualized total return of -0.27%, 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. Compared to the category average of 4.52%, the standard deviation of SWCAX over the past three years is 4.36%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 3.62% compared to the category average of 3.78%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

SWCAX carries a beta of 0.65, meaning that the fund is less volatile than a broad market index of fixed income securities. With this in mind, it has a negative alpha of -0.67, which measures performance on a risk-adjusted basis.

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, SWCAX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.38% compared to the category average of 0.79%. From a cost perspective, SWCAX is actually cheaper than its peers.

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

Overall, Schwab California Tax-Free Bond Fund ( SWCAX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Mutual Fund Bond, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information. And don't forget, Zacks has all of your needs covered on the equity side too! Make sure to check out Zacks.com for more information on our screening capabilities, Rank, and all our articles as well.


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