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Is Hartford Healthcare Fund HLS IA (HIAHX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Any investors hoping to find a Sector - Health fund could think about starting with Hartford Healthcare Fund HLS IA (HIAHX - Free Report) . HIAHX carries 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 Sector - Health funds is an area filled with options, such as HIAHX. Healthcare is one of the biggest sectors of the American economy, and Sector - Health mutual funds provide a great opportunity to invest in this industry. Here, funds can include everything from for-profit hospitals to pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers.

History of Fund/Manager

Hartford is based in Woodbury, MN, and is the manager of HIAHX. Since Hartford Healthcare Fund HLS IA made its debut in December of 2001, HIAHX has garnered more than $175.88 million in assets. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 7.42%, and is in the top 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 9.74%, 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 13.16%, the standard deviation of HIAHX over the past three years is 15.51%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 16.68% compared to the category average of 13.86%. This makes the fund more 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. In HIAHX's case, the fund lost 36.94% in the most recent bear market and underperformed comparable funds by 3%. These results could imply that the fund is a worse choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.06, so investors should note that it is hypothetically more 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. The fund has produced a negative alpha over the past 5 years of -1.56, 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, HIAHX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.91% compared to the category average of 1.36%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, HIAHX 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, Hartford Healthcare Fund HLS IA ( HIAHX ) 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 HIAHX? 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. 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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