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Is Schwab Fundamental International Small Company Index (SFILX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Any investors hoping to find a Non US - Equity fund might consider looking past Schwab Fundamental International Small Company Index (SFILX - Free Report) . SFILX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 5 (Strong Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

SFILX is classified in the Non US - Equity area by Zacks, and this segment is full of potential. Non US - Equity funds focus their investments on companies outside of the United States, which is an important distinction since global mutual funds tend to keep a sizable portion of their portfolio based in the United States. Most of these funds will allocate across emerging and developed markets, and can often extend across cap levels too.

History of Fund/Manager

Schwab Funds is based in San Francisco, CA, and is the manager of SFILX. Schwab Fundamental International Small Company Index made its debut in January of 2008, and since then, SFILX has accumulated about $763 million in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 3.01%, 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 4.85%, 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. Compared to the category average of 12.2%, the standard deviation of SFILX over the past three years is 11.78%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 11.75% compared to the category average of 13.02%. This makes the fund less 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.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.81, so investors should note that it is hypothetically less 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 negative alpha over the past 5 years of -4.45, which shows that 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, SFILX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.39% compared to the category average of 1.20%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, SFILX is actually cheaper than its peers.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $0, while there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, Schwab Fundamental International Small Company Index ( SFILX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees compared to its peers.

Want even more information about SFILX? 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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