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Is Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Administrative (VEMAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Having trouble finding a Non US - Equity fund? Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Administrative (VEMAX - Free Report) is a potential starting point. VEMAX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

VEMAX is classified in the Non US - Equity area by Zacks, and this segment is full of potential. Non US - Equity funds focus their investments on companies outside of the United States, which is an important distinction since global mutual funds tend to keep a sizable portion of their portfolio based in the United States. Most of these funds will allocate across emerging and developed markets, and can often extend across cap levels too.

History of Fund/Manager

Vanguard Group is responsible for VEMAX, and the company is based out of Malvern, PA. The Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Administrative made its debut in June of 2006 and VEMAX has managed to accumulate roughly $14.93 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. Michael Perre is the fund's current manager and has held that role since August of 2008.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 5.01%, and it sits in the bottom third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 10.15%, which places it in the bottom 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. Compared to the category average of 9.59%, the standard deviation of VEMAX over the past three years is 15.67%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 14.8% compared to the category average of 11.95%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should always remember the downsides to a potential investment, and this segment carries some risks one should be aware of. In the most recent bear market, VEMAX lost 62.63% and underperformed its peer group by 4.25%. This could mean that the fund is a worse choice than comparable funds during a bear market.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.96, 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 -8.33, managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

As competition heats up in the mutual fund market, costs become increasingly important. Compared to its otherwise identical counterpart, a low-cost product will be an outperformer, all other things being equal. Thus, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is vital for investors. In terms of fees, VEMAX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.14% compared to the category average of 1.29%. So, VEMAX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $10,000, and each subsequent investment should be at least $1.

Bottom Line

Overall, Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Administrative has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively weak performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Administrative looks like a great potential choice for investors right now.

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Non US - Equity, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds 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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