Back to top

Is Hartford Balanced Income C (HBLCX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Read MoreHide Full Article

Any investors hoping to find an Allocation Balanced fund could think about starting with Hartford Balanced Income C (HBLCX - Free Report) . HBLCX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

HBLCX is classified in the Allocation Balanced segment by Zacks, which is an area full of possibilities. Here, investors are able to get a good head start with diversified mutual funds, and play around with core holding options for a portfolio of funds. Allocation Balanced funds look to invest across a balance of asset types, like stocks, bonds, and cash, though including precious metals or commodities is not unusual; these funds are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation.

History of Fund/Manager

Hartford is based in Woodbury, MN, and is the manager of HBLCX. The Hartford Balanced Income C made its debut in July of 2006 and HBLCX has managed to accumulate roughly $3.17 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. HBLCX has a 5-year annualized total return of 3.96% and it sits 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 4.8%, 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 HBLCX over the past three years is 5.62% compared to the category average of 8.89%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 5.7% compared to the category average of 8.84%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

One cannot ignore the volatility of this segment, however, as it is always important for investors to remember the downside to any potential investment. In HBLCX's case, the fund lost 28.97% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 7.43%. This means that the fund could possibly be a better choice than its peers during a down market environment.

Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.46, which means it is hypothetically less volatile than the market at large. 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. With a negative alpha of -0.34, managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick 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, HBLCX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.66% compared to the category average of 0.88%. So, HBLCX is actually more expensive than its peers from a cost perspective.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $2,000, investors should also note that each subsequent investment needs to be at least $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, Hartford Balanced Income C ( HBLCX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, Hartford Balanced Income C ( HBLCX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on HBLCXin the Allocation Balanced 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. 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.


In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above


Normally $25 each - click below to receive one report FREE:


Hartford Balanced Income C (HBLCX) - free report >>

Published in