Is Schwab International Core Equity (SICNX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Any investors hoping to find a Mutual Fund Equity Report fund might consider looking past Schwab International Core Equity (SICNX). SICNX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 5 (Strong Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

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History of Fund/Manager

Schwab Funds is based in San Francisco, CA, and is the manager of SICNX. Schwab International Core Equity made its debut in May of 2008, and since then, SICNX has accumulated about $705 million in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. Wei Li is the fund’s current manager and has held that role since June of 2013.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 6.82%, and is 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 7.69%, 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. SICNX’s standard deviation over the past three years is 17.32% compared to the category average of 18.46%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund’s standard deviation is 15.01% compared to the category average of 15.22%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.85, which means it is hypothetically less volatile than the market at large. Because alpha represents a portfolio’s performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which is the S&P 500 in this case, one should pay attention to this metric as well. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a negative alpha of -7.24. This means 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, SICNX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.86% compared to the category average of 1.18%. So, SICNX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $0, while there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, Schwab International Core Equity ( SICNX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively weak performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Schwab International Core Equity ( SICNX ) looks like a somewhat weak choice for investors right now.

For additional information on the Mutual Fund Equity Report 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 SICNX too for additional information. If you want to check out our stock reports as well, make sure to go to Zacks.com to see all of the great tools we have to offer, including our time-tested Zacks Rank.

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