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3 Franklin Templeton Mutual Funds to Buy in the Current Environment

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Franklin Resources, Inc., broadly known to the investment community today as Franklin Templeton, commenced business in 1947 in New York, registering as Franklin Distributors, Inc. The company had assets under management of about $1.60 trillion as of Jan 31, 2024. It provides a wide variety of funds but is historically best known for bond funds under the Franklin brand, international funds under the Templeton brand and value funds under the Mutual Series brand.

The company is currently based out of San Mateo, CA, and has a reputation for offering customized solutions for individual needs. Their available funds span across a wide range of asset types, such as equity, balanced portfolio, fixed income, hybrid and thematic investments. This diversified selection allows various options to develop a well-rounded and comprehensive investment plan.

Franklin Templeton joined the spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund race in September 2023 by filing an application with the SEC, proposing a Coinbase-custodied ETF that would trade on Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. With the SEC finally approving a long list of these applications, Franklin Templeton has now applied for an Ethereum spot ETF in February. With the crypto market off to a decent start in 2024, Franklin looks set to ride the momentum.

Franklin Templeton’s proven risk management practices to temper down potential risks linked with market fluctuations also come to the fore currently, with the markets rising and falling on the Fed’s monetary policy moves. Its broad range of funds, investment approach and impressive past results have reinforced its reputation as a trustworthy option for building a diverse portfolio.

Investing in these mutual funds may provide the much-required stability and growth potential in a market that is expected to remain volatile for a while. Hence, astute investors should consider such funds at present. Mutual funds, in general, reduce transaction costs and diversify portfolios without an array of commission charges that are mostly associated with stock purchases (read more: Mutual Funds: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How They Make Investors Money).

We have thus selected three mutual funds that boast a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy), have positive three-year and five-year annualized returns and minimum initial investments within $5000, as well as carry a low expense ratio.

Franklin Income Fund (FRIAX - Free Report) seeks to invest in a diversified portfolio of debt and equity securities. While the equity securities that FRIAX advisors invest in are primarily common stock, they prefer debt securities that are below investment grade.

Edward D. Perks has been the lead manager of FRIAX since April 2002. The three top holdings for FRIAX are 1.4% in Chevron, 1% in Texas Instruments and 0.9% in Bank of America.

FRIAX’s 3-year and 5-year annualized returns are 6.7% and 6.5%, respectively, and its net expense ratio is 0.46%. FRIAX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1. To see how this fund performed compared to its category, and other 1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.

Franklin High Income Fund (FVHIX - Free Report) invests primarily in a portfolio of high-yield yet lower-rated debt securities. For its investment purposes, FVHIX may invest all of its total assets in debt securities that are rated below investment grade.

Glenn I. Voyles has been the lead manager of FVHIX since April 2015. The three top holdings for FVHIX are 1.2% in Martin Midstream, 1.1% in Mauser Packaging and 1.1% in Endeavor Energy.

FVHIX’s 3-year and 5-year annualized returns are 2.8% and 4.9%, respectively, and its net expense ratio is 0.60%. FVHIX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1.

Franklin Utilities Fund (FRUAX - Free Report) seeks capital growth and primarily invests its assets in securities of public utility companies. FRUAX invests primarily in equity securities, which consist mainly of common stocks.

John Kohli has been the lead manager of FRUAX since December 1998. The three top holdings for FRUAX are 11.7% in NextEra, 5% in The Southern and 4.8% in Edison.

FRUAX’s 3-year and 5-year annualized returns are 4.3% and 5.7%, respectively, and its net expense ratio is 0.56%. FRUAX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1.

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