Is American Funds Washington Mutual Investors A (AWSHX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Any investors hoping to find a Mutual Fund Equity Report fund could think about starting with American Funds Washington Mutual Investors A (AWSHX). AWSHX has 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

AWSHX finds itself in the American Funds family, based out of Los Angeles, CA. Since American Funds Washington Mutual Investors A made its debut in July of 1952, AWSHX has garnered more than $72.92 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. AWSHX has a 5-year annualized total return of 11.08% and is in the middle third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 11.06%, 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, AWSHX’s standard deviation comes in at 17.6%, compared to the category average of 15.52%. The fund’s standard deviation over the past 5 years is 15.56% compared to the category average of 13.89%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

With a 5-year beta of 0.87, the fund 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. AWSHX’s 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -0.18, which means managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Examining 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 96% stock in stocks, with an average market capitalization of $287.97 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Finance

  2. Technology

  3. Industrial Cyclical

  4. Non-Durable

With turnover at about 19%, this fund is making fewer trades than comparable funds.

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, AWSHX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.57% compared to the category average of 0.92%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, AWSHX is actually cheaper than its peers.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $250, and each subsequent investment should be at least $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, American Funds Washington Mutual Investors A ( AWSHX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, American Funds Washington Mutual Investors A ( AWSHX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Don’t stop here for your research on Mutual Fund Equity Report funds. We also have plenty more on our site in order to help you find the best possible fund for your portfolio. Make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for more information about the world of funds, and feel free to compare AWSHX to its peers as well for additional information. For analysis of the rest of your portfolio, make sure to visit Zacks.com for our full suite of tools which will help you investigate all of your stocks and funds in one place.

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