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Is Fidelity Equity-Income Fund (FEQIX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you've been stuck searching for Large Cap Value funds, consider Fidelity Equity-Income Fund (FEQIX - Free Report) as a possibility. FEQIX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

Large Cap Value mutual funds invest in stocks with a market capitalization of $10 billion or more, but whose share prices do not reflect their intrinsic value; this value investing strategy often leads to low P/E ratios and high dividend yields, though growth levels are often curtailed. The high-growth opportunity of these funds are slowed even further, as large-cap securities are generally in stable industries with low to moderate growth prospects. Therefore, Large Cap Value funds are usually more appealing to investors who are interested in a stable income stream.

History of Fund/Manager

FEQIX finds itself in the Fidelity family, based out of Boston, MA. Fidelity Equity-Income Fund made its debut in May of 1966, and since then, FEQIX has accumulated about $4.15 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund's current manager, Ramona Persaud, has been in charge of the fund since October of 2011.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 3.19%, and is 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 0.13%, 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 11.71%, the standard deviation of FEQIX over the past three years is 14.76%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 13.3% compared to the category average of 11.3%. 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. FEQIX lost 57.1% in the most recent bear market and underperformed its peer group by 6%. This makes the fund a possibly worse choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.95, so it is likely going to be less volatile than the market at large. Alpha is an additional metric to take into consideration, since it represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which in this case, is the S&P 500. FEQIX's 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -3.04, which means managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Investigating 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 largely on equities that are traded in the United States.

Currently, this mutual fund is holding 91.88% stock in stocks, with an average market capitalization of $173.40 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Finance
  2. Technology
  3. Non-Durable
Turnover is about 32%, so those in charge of the fund make fewer trades than the average comparable fund.

Expenses

As competition heats up in the mutual fund market, costs become increasingly important. Compared to its otherwise identical counterpart, a low-cost product will be an outperformer, all other things being equal. Thus, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is vital for investors. In terms of fees, FEQIX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.60% compared to the category average of 1%. From a cost perspective, FEQIX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $0; each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, Fidelity Equity-Income Fund ( FEQIX ) 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 FEQIX? 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. Zacks provides a full suite of tools to help you analyze your portfolio - both funds and stocks - in the most efficient way possible.


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