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Is Vanguard International Explorer Fund (VINEX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Having trouble finding a Non US - Equity fund? Vanguard International Explorer Fund (VINEX - Free Report) is a potential starting point. VINEX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

We classify VINEX in the Non US - Equity category, which is an area rife with potential choices. Investing in companies outside the United States is how Non US - Equity funds set themselves apart, since global funds tend to keep a good portion of their portfolio stateside. Many of these funds like to allocate across emerging and developed markets, and will often focus on all cap levels.

History of Fund/Manager

VINEX finds itself in the Vanguard Group family, based out of Malvern, PA. Vanguard International Explorer Fund debuted in November of 1996. Since then, VINEX has accumulated assets of about $4.49 billion, according to the most recently available information. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. VINEX has a 5-year annualized total return of 11.16% 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 10.1%, 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. Compared to the category average of 13.03%, the standard deviation of VINEX over the past three years is 12%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 11.42% compared to the category average of 12.65%. This makes the fund less 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, VINEX lost 59.58% and underperformed its peer group by 1.18%. This could mean that the fund is a worse choice than comparable funds during a bear market.

Investors should not forget about beta, an important way to measure a mutual fund's risk compared to the market as a whole. VINEX has a 5-year beta of 0.85, which means it is likely to be less volatile than the market average. Because alpha represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which is the S&P 500 in this case, one should pay attention to this metric as well. The fund has produced a positive alpha over the past 5 years of 0.17, which shows that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

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, VINEX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.38% compared to the category average of 1.29%. VINEX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $3,000, investors should also note that each subsequent investment needs to be at least $1.

Bottom Line

Overall, Vanguard International Explorer Fund has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Vanguard International Explorer Fund 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 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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