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Is Baron Partners Fund Retail (BPTRX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Having trouble finding a Mid Cap Growth fund? Well, Baron Partners Fund Retail (BPTRX - Free Report) would not be a good potential starting point right now. BPTRX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 4 (Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

BPTRX is part of the Mid Cap Growth section, a segment that boasts a wide array of possible selections. While Mid Cap Growth mutual funds choose companies with a stock market valuation between $2 billion and $10 billion, stocks in these funds are also expected to show broad considerable growth opportunities for investors compared to their peers. To be considered a growth stock, companies must consistently report impressive sales and/or earnings growth.

History of Fund/Manager

BPTRX is a part of the Baron family of funds, a company based out of New York, NY. The Baron Partners Fund Retail made its debut in January of 1992 and BPTRX has managed to accumulate roughly $1.10 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by Ronald Baron who has been in charge of the fund since April of 2003.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 13.54%, 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 10.87%, 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. BPTRX's standard deviation over the past three years is 16.62% compared to the category average of 10.09%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 15.76% compared to the category average of 10%. This makes the fund more 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 BPTRX's case, the fund lost 59.42% in the most recent bear market and underperformed its peer group by 8.34%. This could mean that the fund is a worse choice than comparable funds during a bear market.

Nevertheless, with a 5-year beta of 1.26, the fund is likely to be more volatile than the market average. 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. BPTRX has generated a negative alpha over the past five years of -1.94, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick 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 primarily on equities that are traded in the United States.

The mutual fund currently has 81.75% of its holdings in stocks, which have an average market capitalization of $20.51 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Non-Durable
  2. Technology
  3. Retail Trade
  4. Finance

With turnover at about 26.19%, this fund makes fewer trades than the average comparable fund.

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, BPTRX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.34% compared to the category average of 1.20%. From a cost perspective, BPTRX is actually more expensive than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $2,000; each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, Baron Partners Fund Retail has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, worse downside risk, and higher fees, this fund looks like a poor potential choice for investors right now.

For additional information on the Mid Cap Growth area of the mutual fund world, make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds. There, you can see more about the ranking process, and dive even deeper into BPTRX too for additional information. If you want to check out our stock reports as well, make sure to go to Zacks.com to see all of the great tools we have to offer, including our time-tested Zacks Rank.




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