Is American Funds AMCAP A (AMCPX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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On the lookout for a Large Cap Growth fund? Starting with American Funds AMCAP A (AMCPX) is one possibility. AMCPX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

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Objective

AMCPX is classified in the Large Cap Growth segment by Zacks, an area full of possibilities. Companies are usually considered to be large-cap if their stock market valuation is more than $10 billion. Large Cap Growth mutual funds invest in many large U.S. firms that are projected to grow at a faster rate than their large-cap peers.

History of Fund/Manager

American Funds is based in Los Angeles, CA, and is the manager of AMCPX. American Funds AMCAP A debuted in May of 1967. Since then, AMCPX has accumulated assets of about $38.47 billion, according to the most recently available information. A team of investment professionals is the fund’s current manager.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. AMCPX has a 5-year annualized total return of 16.51% and it sits in the bottom third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 14.68%, 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. AMCPX’s standard deviation over the past three years is 18.25% compared to the category average of 15.43%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 14.74% compared to the category average of 12.75%. 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 0.94, 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 positive alpha over the past 5 years of 0.55, which shows that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking 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 mostly on equities that are traded in the United States.

The mutual fund currently has 82.71% of its holdings in stocks, which have an average market capitalization of $311.16 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology
  2. Non-Durable

With turnover at about 35%, this fund makes fewer trades than comparable funds.

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, AMCPX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.67% compared to the category average of 1.02%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, AMCPX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $250 and that each subsequent investment needs to be at $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, American Funds AMCAP A ( AMCPX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively weak performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, American Funds AMCAP A ( AMCPX ) looks like a great potential choice for investors right now.

For additional information on the Large Cap Growth area of the mutual fund world, make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds. There, you can see more about the ranking process, and dive even deeper into AMCPX too 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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