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Is Delaware Healthcare A (DLHAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you've been stuck searching for Sector - Health funds, consider Delaware Healthcare A (DLHAX - Free Report) as a possibility. DLHAX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

Zacks categorizes DLHAX as Sector - Health, a segment packed with options. Sector - Health mutual funds offer investors a focus on the healthcare industry, one of the largest sectors in the American economy. These funds can include everything from pharmaceutical companies to medical device manufacturers and for-profit hospitals.

History of Fund/Manager

Delaware Investments is based in Philadelphia, PA, and is the manager of DLHAX. Since Delaware Healthcare A made its debut in September of 2007, DLHAX has garnered more than $178.37 million in assets. The fund is currently managed by Liu Er Chen who has been in charge of the fund since September of 2007.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 20.81%, 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 10.77%, which places it in the top 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 DLHAX over the past three years is 13.68% compared to the category average of 10.78%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 13.27% compared to the category average of 16.21%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

It's always important to be aware of the downsides to any future investment, so one should not discount the risks that come with this segment. In the most recent bear market, DLHAX lost 24.67% and outperformed its peer group by 8.18%. This means that the fund could possibly be a better choice than its peers during a down market environment.

And for investors concerned about the potential drawdown in a really bad calendar year, we can look back to 2008 for that figure. The fund lost over 12.8%, its worst calendar year in a decade.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.06, so investors should note that it is hypothetically more volatile than the market at large. 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. DLHAX's 5-year performance has produced a positive alpha of 4.55, which means managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Investigating 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 mostly on equities that are traded in the United States.

Right now, 97.92% of this mutual fund's holdings are stocks, with an average market capitalization of $68.70 billion.

With turnover at about 29%, this fund makes fewer trades than its comparable peers.

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, DLHAX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.38% compared to the category average of 1.34%. DLHAX is actually more expensive than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $1,000, and each subsequent investment should be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, Delaware Healthcare A DLHAX has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, this fund looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Want even more information about DLHAX? Then go over to Zacks.com and check out our mutual fund comparison tool, and all of the other great features that we have to help you with your mutual fund analysis 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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