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Is Matthews Asia Growth Fund Investor (MPACX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you've been stuck searching for Pacific Rim - Equity funds, consider Matthews Asia Growth Fund Investor (MPACX - Free Report) as a possibility. MPACX bears 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 Pacific Rim - Equity funds is an area filled with options, such as MPACX. Pacific Rim - Equity mutual funds usually invest in companies with a big presence in the export-focused markets of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea. These funds also invest less than 10% of their assets in Japanese companies since Japan mutual funds are incredibly popular.

History of Fund/Manager

Matthews Asia is based in San Francisco, CA, and is the manager of MPACX. Matthews Asia Growth Fund Investor made its debut in October of 2003, and since then, MPACX has accumulated about $524.69 million in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund's current manager, Taizo Ishida, has been in charge of the fund since January of 2007.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 5.39%, 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 8.26%, 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. Compared to the category average of 11.53%, the standard deviation of MPACX over the past three years is 15.37%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 14.23% compared to the category average of 11.87%. 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 MPACX's case, the fund lost 53.62% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 4%. These results could imply that the fund is a better choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.91, 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 -3.16, 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, MPACX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.10% compared to the category average of 1.37%. So, MPACX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $2,500 and that each subsequent investment needs to be at $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, Matthews Asia Growth Fund Investor ( MPACX ) 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 MPACX? 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. Want to learn even more? We have a full suite of tools on stocks that you can use to find the best choices for your portfolio too, no matter what kind of investor you are.


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