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Is Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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There are plenty of choices in the Mutual Fund Equity Report category, but where should you start your research? Well, one fund that might be worth investigating is Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX - Free Report) . VGTSX has no Zacks Mutual Fund Rank, but we have been able to look into other metrics like performance, volatility, and cost.

History of Fund/Manager

Vanguard Group is responsible for VGTSX, and the company is based out of Malvern, PA. Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund debuted in April of 1996. Since then, VGTSX has accumulated assets of about $164.55 billion, according to the most recently available information. The fund's current manager, Michael Perre, has been in charge of the fund since November of 2010.

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 2.69%, 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 3.82%, 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 VGTSX over the past three years is 17.89% compared to the category average of 16.2%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 15.99% compared to the category average of 14.37%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

The fund has a 5-year beta of 0.82, so investors should note that it is hypothetically less volatile than 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. With a negative alpha of -7.2, managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

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, VGTSX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.17% compared to the category average of 0.79%. So, VGTSX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $0; each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Your research on the Mutual Fund Equity Report 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. 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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