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Is Columbia Seligman Communications and Information A (SLMCX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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There are plenty of choices in the Sector - Tech category, but where should you start your research? Well, one fund that might be worth investigating is Columbia Seligman Communications and Information A (SLMCX - Free Report) . SLMCX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Sector - Tech funds is an area filled with options, and SLMCX is one of them. Sector - Tech mutual funds allow investors to own a stake in a notoriously volatile sector with a much more diversified approach. Tech companies can be in any number of industries such as semiconductors, software, internet, networking just to name a few.

History of Fund/Manager

SLMCX is a part of the Columbia family of funds, a company based out of Boston, MA. Columbia Seligman Communications and Information A made its debut in June of 1983, and since then, SLMCX has accumulated about $3.76 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 15.89%, 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 17.7%, 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. The standard deviation of SLMCX over the past three years is 17.88% compared to the category average of 10.04%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 17.33% compared to the category average of 10.4%. 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 SLMCX's case, the fund lost 39.91% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 13.41%. This makes the fund a possibly better choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.19, which means it is hypothetically 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. SLMCX's 5-year performance has produced a positive alpha of 4.74, which means managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Examining 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 mostly on equities that are traded in the United States.

Currently, this mutual fund is holding 76.9% stock in stocks, with an average market capitalization of $157.65 billion. With turnover at about 39%, this fund is making fewer trades than comparable funds.

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, SLMCX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.24% compared to the category average of 1.31%. From a cost perspective, SLMCX is actually cheaper 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, Columbia Seligman Communications and Information A ( SLMCX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, strong performance, worse downside risk, and lower fees compared to its peers.

For additional information on the Sector - Tech 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 SLMCX too for additional information. Zacks provides a full suite of tools to help you analyze your portfolio - both funds and stocks - in the most efficient way possible.


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