Is Parnassus Mid-Cap Fund (PARMX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If investors are looking at the Mutual Fund Equity Report fund category, Parnassus Mid-Cap Fund (PARMX) could be a potential option. PARMX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

History of Fund/Manager

Parnassus is responsible for PARMX, and the company is based out of San Francisco, CA. Parnassus Mid-Cap Fund made its debut in April of 2005, and since then, PARMX has accumulated about $913.74 million in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. Matthew Gershuny is the fund’s current manager and has held that role since October of 2008.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. PARMX has a 5-year annualized total return of 11.24% and is in the middle 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 12.37%, 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. Compared to the category average of 18.59%, the standard deviation of PARMX over the past three years is 19.01%. The fund’s standard deviation over the past 5 years is 15.37% compared to the category average of 15.46%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should not forget about beta, an important way to measure a mutual fund’s risk compared to the market as a whole. PARMX has a 5-year beta of 0.92, which means it is likely to be less volatile than the market average. 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. The fund has produced a negative alpha over the past 5 years of -4.47, which shows that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

For investors, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is key, since costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing. Competition is heating up in this space, and a lower cost product will likely outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, all things being equal. In terms of fees, PARMX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.96% compared to the category average of 1.17%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, PARMX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $2,000, investors should also note that each subsequent investment needs to be at least $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, Parnassus Mid-Cap Fund ( PARMX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Parnassus Mid-Cap Fund ( PARMX ) looks like a great potential 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 PARMX 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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