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Is Fidelity Japan Fund (FJPNX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Japan - Equity fund seekers should consider taking a look at Fidelity Japan Fund (FJPNX - Free Report) . FJPNX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Japan - Equity funds is an area filled with choices, and one such option is FJPNX. Japan - Equity mutual funds invest primarily in companies based in Japan, one of the world's richest and most diversified economies. The country remains somewhat exposed to global economic trends with its export focus, while its lack of natural resources also can impact the nation.

History of Fund/Manager

FJPNX finds itself in the Fidelity family, based out of Boston, MA. Fidelity Japan Fund made its debut in September of 1992, and since then, FJPNX has accumulated about $402.50 million in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. Kirk Neureiter is the fund's current manager and has held that role since March of 2014.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. FJPNX has a 5-year annualized total return of 2.51% and it sits in the top third among its category peers. But if you are looking for a shorter time frame, it is also worth looking at its 3-year annualized total return of 4.4%, 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. FJPNX's standard deviation over the past three years is 12.08% compared to the category average of 10.6%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 12.33% compared to the category average of 10.47%. 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, FJPNX lost 53.22% and outperformed its peer group by 3.4%. This might suggest that the fund is a better choice than its peers during a bear market.

Nevertheless, with a 5-year beta of 0.83, the fund is likely to be less volatile than the market average. 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. FJPNX's 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -4.07, which means managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick 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, FJPNX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.01% compared to the category average of 1.20%. From a cost perspective, FJPNX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $0, investors should also note that there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, Fidelity Japan Fund ( FJPNX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Want even more information about FJPNX? Then go over to Zacks.com and check out our mutual fund comparison tool, and all of the other great features that we have to help you with your mutual fund analysis 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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