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Is BlackRock Global Allocation A (MDLOX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you have been looking for Allocation Balanced funds, it would not be wise to start your search with BlackRock Global Allocation A (MDLOX - Free Report) . MDLOX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 4 (Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

MDLOX is one of many Zacks' Allocation Balanced mutual funds to pick from. Allocation Balanced funds seek to invest in a balance of asset types, like stocks, bonds, and cash, though including precious metals or commodities is not unusual; these funds are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation. Investors utilize Allocation Balanced funds as a way to get a good start with diversified mutual funds, as well as for core holdings in a portfolio of funds.

History of Fund/Manager

BlackRock is responsible for MDLOX, and the company is based out of New York, NY. BlackRock Global Allocation A made its debut in October of 1994, and since then, MDLOX has accumulated about $10.74 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

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 4.72%, and is in the middle third among its category peers. If you're interested in shorter time frames, do not dismiss looking at the fund's 3-year annualized total return of 7.06%, 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. Over the past three years, MDLOX's standard deviation comes in at 6.98%, compared to the category average of 8.99%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 7.08% compared to the category average of 9.28%. This makes the fund less 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, MDLOX lost 29.24% and outperformed comparable funds by 7%. This means that the fund could possibly be a better choice than its peers during a down market environment.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.54, so investors should note that it is hypothetically less 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 negative alpha of -2. This means that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick 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, MDLOX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.08% compared to the category average of 0.92%. From a cost perspective, MDLOX is actually more expensive than its peers.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $1,000, and each subsequent investment should be at least $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, BlackRock Global Allocation A ( MDLOX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, this fund looks like a somewhat weak choice for investors right now.

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Allocation Balanced, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds 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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