Is Franklin Utilities A (FKUTX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you have been looking for Mutual Fund Equity Report funds, a place to start could be Franklin Utilities A (FKUTX). FKUTX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

History of Fund/Manager

FKUTX is a part of the Franklin Templeton family of funds, a company based out of San Mateo, CA. Franklin Utilities A debuted in September of 1948. Since then, FKUTX has accumulated assets of about $3.63 billion, according to the most recently available information. John Kohli is the fund’s current manager and has held that role since December of 1998.

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 9.67%, and it sits in the middle third among its category peers. If you’re interested in shorter time frames, do not dismiss looking at the fund’s 3-year annualized total return of 9.58%, which places it in the middle 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, FKUTX’s standard deviation comes in at 17.24%, compared to the category average of 14.89%. The fund’s standard deviation over the past 5 years is 14.92% compared to the category average of 13.12%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

The fund has a 5-year beta of 0.48, so investors should note that 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. FKUTX has generated a positive alpha over the past five years of 3.09, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking 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, FKUTX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.72% compared to the category average of 1.21%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, FKUTX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $1,000; each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, Franklin Utilities A ( FKUTX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Franklin Utilities A ( FKUTX ) looks like a great potential choice for investors right now.

Your research on the Mutual Fund Equity Report segment doesn’t have to stop here. You can check out all the great mutual fund tools we have to offer by going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds to see the additional features we offer as well for additional information. If you are more of a stock investor, make sure to also check out our Zacks Rank, and our full suite of tools we have available for novice and professional investors alike.

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