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Is Baron Fifth Avenue Growth Retail (BFTHX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you have been looking for Large Cap Growth funds, a place to start could be Baron Fifth Avenue Growth Retail (BFTHX - Free Report) . BFTHX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

BFTHX is part of the Large Cap Growth section, and this segment boasts an array of other possible options. Large Cap Growth mutual funds purchase stakes in numerous large U.S. companies that are expected to develop and grow at a faster rate than other large-cap stocks. Companies are usually considered to be large-cap if their market capitalization is over $10 billion.

History of Fund/Manager

Baron is based in New York, NY, and is the manager of BFTHX. The Baron Fifth Avenue Growth Retail made its debut in May of 2004 and BFTHX has managed to accumulate roughly $113.50 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by Alex Umansky who has been in charge of the fund since November of 2011.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 14.05%, 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 23.53%, 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 11.06%, the standard deviation of BFTHX over the past three years is 14.97%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 15.41% compared to the category average of 10.94%. This makes the fund more 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 the most recent bear market, BFTHX lost 51.16% and underperformed its peer group by 2%. This could mean that the fund is a worse choice than comparable funds during a bear market.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.11, so investors should note that it is hypothetically more volatile than the market at large. Because alpha represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which is the S&P 500 in this case, one should pay attention to this metric as well. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a positive alpha of 2.1. This means that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

Costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing, and particularly as competition heats up in this market. And all things being equal, a lower cost product will outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, so taking a closer look at these metrics is key for investors. In terms of fees, BFTHX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1% compared to the category average of 1.08%. From a cost perspective, BFTHX is actually cheaper than its peers.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $2,000, while there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, Baron Fifth Avenue Growth Retail ( BFTHX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Baron Fifth Avenue Growth Retail ( BFTHX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

For additional information on the Large Cap Growth 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 BFTHX too for additional information. And don't forget, Zacks has all of your needs covered on the equity side too! Make sure to check out Zacks.com for more information on our screening capabilities, Rank, and all our articles as well.


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