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Is DFA Continental Small Company I (DFCSX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you're looking for a Europe - Equity fund category, then a potential option is DFA Continental Small Company I (DFCSX - Free Report) . DFCSX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on various forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.


DFCSX is one of many Europe - Equity funds to pick from, and generally, European funds offer slow growth that can provide great levels of stability. Europe - Equity mutual funds invest in stocks across the vast European continent, including Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

History of Fund/Manager

DFCSX finds itself in the Dimensional family, based out of Austin, TX. The DFA Continental Small Company I made its debut in April of 1988 and DFCSX has managed to accumulate roughly $763.92 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.


Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 9.79%, and is in the middle 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 3.27%, which places it in the middle third during this time-frame.

It is important to note that the product's returns may not reflect all its expenses. Any fees not reflected would lower the returns. Total returns do not reflect the fund's [%] sale charge. If sales charges were included, total returns would have been lower.

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. DFCSX's standard deviation over the past three years is 20.25% compared to the category average of 20.29%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 23.27% compared to the category average of 21.32%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

With a 5-year beta of 1.12, the fund is likely to be more 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. DFCSX's 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -5.87, which means managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.


For investors, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is key, since costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing. Competition is heating up in this space, and a lower cost product will likely outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, all things being equal. In terms of fees, DFCSX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.40% compared to the category average of 0.99%. From a cost perspective, DFCSX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $0 and that each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Fees charged by investment advisors have not been taken into considiration. Returns would be less if those were included.

Bottom Line

Overall, DFA Continental Small Company I ( DFCSX ) 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 Europe - Equity, make sure to go to 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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