There are plenty of choices in the Sector - Tech category, but where should you start your research? Well, one fund that might be worth investigating is ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Service Class (SMPSX - Free Report) . SMPSX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.
The world of Sector - Tech funds is an area filled with options, and SMPSX is one of them. Sector - Tech mutual funds allow investors to own a stake in a notoriously volatile sector with a much more diversified approach. Tech companies can be in any number of industries such as semiconductors, software, internet, networking just to name a few.
History of Fund/Manager
ProFunds is responsible for SMPSX, and the company is based out of Columbus, OH. The ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Service Class made its debut in June of 2000 and SMPSX has managed to accumulate roughly $4.15 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by Michael Neches who has been in charge of the fund since October of 2013.
Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. SMPSX has a 5-year annualized total return of 36.64% and is 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 26.93%, 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. SMPSX's standard deviation over the past three years is 28.05% compared to the category average of 11.94%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 24.54% compared to the category average of 13.71%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.
Investors cannot discount the risks to this segment though, as it is always important to remember the downside for any potential investment. In the most recent bear market, SMPSX lost 74.41% and underperformed comparable funds by 21.61%. This means that the fund could possibly be a worse choice than its peers during a down market environment.
Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.76, which means it is hypothetically more 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 positive alpha of 8.34, managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking 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, SMPSX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 2.46% compared to the category average of 1.37%. SMPSX is actually more expensive than its peers when you consider factors like cost.
Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $15,000 and that each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.
Overall, ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Service Class has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, worse downside risk, and higher fees, ProFunds Semicond UltraSector Service Class looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.
For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Sector - Tech, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information. For analysis of the rest of your portfolio, make sure to visit Zacks.com for our full suite of tools which will help you investigate all of your stocks and funds in one place.