Is Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you’re looking for an Index fund category, then a possible option is Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX). VGTSX has no Zacks Mutual Fund Rank, but we have been able to look into other metrics like performance, volatility, and cost.

Load Error

History of Fund/Manager

Vanguard Group is based in Malvern, PA, and is the manager of VGTSX. Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund made its debut in April of 1996, and since then, VGTSX has accumulated about $200.76 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund’s current manager, Michael Perre, has been in charge of the fund since November of 2010.

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 10.01%, and it sits in the bottom 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 9.61%, which places it in the bottom 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, VGTSX’s standard deviation comes in at 18.05%, compared to the category average of 15.35%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund’s standard deviation is 14.88% compared to the category average of 12.7%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.87, which means it is hypothetically less 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 -4.75, which shows that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

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, VGTSX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.17% compared to the category average of 0.79%. So, VGTSX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $0 and that each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Don’t stop here for your research on Index funds. We also have plenty more on our site in order to help you find the best possible fund for your portfolio. Make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for more information about the world of funds, and feel free to compare VGTSX to its peers as well for additional information. For analysis of the rest of your portfolio, make sure to visit Zacks.com for our full suite of tools which will help you investigate all of your stocks and funds in one place.

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