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Is Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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There are plenty of choices in the Large Cap Growth category, but where should you start your research? Well, one fund that might be worth investigating is Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX - Free Report) . FCNTX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

FCNTX 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

FCNTX finds itself in the Fidelity family, based out of Boston, MA. Fidelity Contrafund made its debut in May of 1967, and since then, FCNTX has accumulated about $97.24 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund's current manager, William Danoff, has been in charge of the fund since September of 1990.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. FCNTX has a 5-year annualized total return of 13.1% 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 18.92%, 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. FCNTX's standard deviation over the past three years is 13.88% compared to the category average of 11.56%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 12.85% compared to the category average of 11.62%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors cannot discount the risks to this segment though, as it is always important to remember the downside for any potential investment. In FCNTX's case, the fund lost 46.34% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 3%. These results could imply that the fund is a better choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.99, so investors should note that it is hypothetically as volatile as 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 1.45. This means that 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.

Right now, 93.57% of this mutual fund's holdings are stocks, and these companies have an average market capitalization of $291.30 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology
  2. Finance
  3. Retail Trade
This fund's turnover is about 32%, so the fund managers are making fewer trades than comparable funds.

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, FCNTX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.85% compared to the category average of 1.06%. So, FCNTX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

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

Bottom Line

Overall, Fidelity Contrafund ( FCNTX ) 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 FCNTX? 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. 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.


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