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Is Ivy Science & Technology Y (WSTYX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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On the lookout for a Sector - Tech fund? Starting with Ivy Science & Technology Y (WSTYX - Free Report) should not be a possibility at this time. WSTYX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 4 (Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

WSTYX is part of the Sector - Tech category, which boasts an array of different possible selections. With a much more diversified approach, Sector - Tech mutual funds give investors a way to own a stake in a notoriously risky sector. Tech companies are in various industries like semiconductors, software, internet, and networking, among others.

History of Fund/Manager

WSTYX finds itself in the Ivy Funds family, based out of Boca Raton, FL. The Ivy Science & Technology Y made its debut in June of 1998 and WSTYX has managed to accumulate roughly $554 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund's current manager, Zachary H. Shafran, has been in charge of the fund since February of 2001.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 8.55%, and is in the middle third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 11.2%, which places it in the middle 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. WSTYX's standard deviation over the past three years is 15.51% compared to the category average of 9.37%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 14.99% compared to the category average of 9.48%. 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 WSTYX's case, the fund lost 35.47% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 17.84%. These results could imply that the fund is a better choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.26, which means it is hypothetically more volatile than the market at large. 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. WSTYX's 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -4.34, which means managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Exploring 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.

Right now, 92.69% of this mutual fund's holdings are stocks, with an average market capitalization of $227.77 billion. With turnover at about 22%, 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, WSTYX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.24% compared to the category average of 1.35%. WSTYX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $0; each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, Ivy Science & Technology Y ( WSTYX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, worse downside risk, and lower fees, Ivy Science & Technology Y ( WSTYX ) looks like a somewhat weak choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on WSTYXin the Sector - Tech category. Consider going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information about this fund, and all the others that we rank as well 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.


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