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Is Wasatch Micro Cap Fund (WMICX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

If you've been stuck searching for Small Cap Growth funds, consider Wasatch Micro Cap Fund (WMICX) as a possibility. WMICX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Small Cap Growth funds is an area filled with options, such as WMICX. These funds tend to create their portfolios around stocks that sport large growth opportunities and market capitalization of less than $2 billion. The companies in these portfolios are usually on the smaller side, and are in up-and-coming industries and markets.

History of Fund/Manager

Wasatch is based in Salt Lake City, UT, and is the manager of WMICX. Since Wasatch Micro Cap Fund made its debut in June of 1995, WMICX has garnered more than $1.32 billion in assets. The fund is currently managed by Daniel Chace who has been in charge of the fund since January of 2004.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 32.88%, and is in the top third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 37.26%, 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. Over the past three years, WMICX's standard deviation comes in at 28.43%, compared to the category average of 20.27%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 22.55% compared to the category average of 16.54%. This makes the fund more 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. WMICX has a 5-year beta of 1.23, which means it is likely to be more volatile than the market average. 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. The fund has produced a positive alpha over the past 5 years of 10.71, which shows 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, WMICX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.66% compared to the category average of 1.21%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, WMICX is actually more expensive than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $2,000; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, Wasatch Micro Cap Fund ( WMICX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, worse downside risk, and higher fees, Wasatch Micro Cap Fund ( WMICX ) 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 Small Cap Growth, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information. Zacks provides a full suite of tools to help you analyze your portfolio - both funds and stocks - in the most efficient way possible.


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