Is American Funds New Economy 529A (CNGAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If investors are looking at the Global – Equity fund category, American Funds New Economy 529A (CNGAX) could be a potential option. CNGAX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Load Error

Objective

We note that CNGAX is a Global – Equity option, an investment area loaded with different options. While Global – Equity mutual funds invest their assets in large markets–think the U.S., Europe, and Japan–they aren’t limited by geography. Their investment technique is one that leverages the global economy in order to offer stable returns.

History of Fund/Manager

CNGAX is a part of the American Funds family of funds, a company based out of Los Angeles, CA. Since American Funds New Economy 529A made its debut in December of 1983, CNGAX has garnered more than $1.08 billion in assets. 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 in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 20.26%, and it sits 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 22.89%, 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. CNGAX’s standard deviation over the past three years is 17.46% compared to the category average of 15.34%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund’s standard deviation is 15.18% compared to the category average of 12.67%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

With a 5-year beta of 0.91, the fund is likely to be less volatile than the market average. 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. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a positive alpha of 2.68. This means that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Exploring 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 principally on equities that are traded in the United States.

This fund is currently holding about 90.86% stock in stocks, with an average market capitalization of $306.31 billion. Turnover is 28%, which means this fund makes 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, CNGAX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.77% compared to the category average of 1.13%. From a cost perspective, CNGAX 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 New Economy 529A ( CNGAX ) 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.

For additional information on the Global – Equity 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 CNGAX too 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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