Is American Funds Balanced A (ABALX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you’ve been stuck searching for Mutual Fund Equity Report funds, consider American Funds Balanced A (ABALX) as a possibility. ABALX possesses 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

ABALX is a part of the American Funds family of funds, a company based out of Los Angeles, CA. Since American Funds Balanced A made its debut in September of 1932, ABALX has garnered more than $91.23 billion in assets. The fund is currently managed by a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 6.56%, 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 6.31%, 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. Compared to the category average of 15.5%, the standard deviation of ABALX over the past three years is 11.82%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 10.48% compared to the category average of 13.75%. 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 0.58, so it is likely going to be 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. ABALX’s 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -0.97, which means managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

Costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing, and particularly as competition heats up in this market. And all things being equal, a lower cost product will outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, so taking a closer look at these metrics is key for investors. In terms of fees, ABALX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.56% compared to the category average of 0.86%. From a cost perspective, ABALX 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 Balanced A ( ABALX ) 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 this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Mutual Fund Equity Report, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information. And don’t forget, Zacks has all of your needs covered on the equity side too! Make sure to check out Zacks.com for more information on our screening capabilities, Rank, and all our articles as well.

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