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Is Wasatch Ultra Growth (WAMCX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Small Cap Growth fund seekers may want to consider taking a look at Wasatch Ultra Growth (WAMCX - Free Report) . WAMCX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Small Cap Growth funds is an area filled with options, such as WAMCX. These funds tend to create their portfolios around stocks that sport large growth opportunities and market capitalization of less than $2 billion. The companies in these portfolios are usually on the smaller side, and are in up-and-coming industries and markets.

History of Fund/Manager

WAMCX is a part of the Wasatch family of funds, a company based out of Salt Lake City, UT. Wasatch Ultra Growth made its debut in August of 1992, and since then, WAMCX has accumulated about $254.73 million in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund's current manager, John Malooly, has been in charge of the fund since January of 2012.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 10.18%, and is in the top third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 16.25%, 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. The standard deviation of WAMCX over the past three years is 18.48% compared to the category average of 14.86%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 18.14% compared to the category average of 14.71%. 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 the most recent bear market, WAMCX lost 62.55% and underperformed comparable funds by 9.53%. This makes the fund a possibly worse choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.18, so it is likely going to be more volatile than the market at large. Alpha is an additional metric to take into consideration, since it represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which in this case, is the S&P 500. The fund has produced a positive alpha over the past 5 years of 1.19, which shows that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking 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, WAMCX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.24% compared to the category average of 1.29%. WAMCX 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 $2,000; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, Wasatch Ultra Growth ( WAMCX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

Don't stop here for your research on Small Cap Growth funds. We also have plenty more on our site in order to help you find the best possible fund for your portfolio. Make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for more information about the world of funds, and feel free to compare WAMCX to its peers as well for additional information. If you are more of a stock investor, make sure to also check out our Zacks Rank, and our full suite of tools we have available for novice and professional investors alike.


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