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Is Matthews Asia Innovators Investor (MATFX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

On the lookout for a Sector - Tech fund? Starting with Matthews Asia Innovators Investor (MATFX) is one possibility. MATFX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Sector - Tech funds is an area filled with options, and MATFX is one of them. Sector - Tech mutual funds allow investors to own a stake in a notoriously volatile sector with a much more diversified approach. Tech companies can be in any number of industries such as semiconductors, software, internet, networking just to name a few.

History of Fund/Manager

MATFX is a part of the Matthews Asia family of funds, a company based out of San Francisco, CA. Since Matthews Asia Innovators Investor made its debut in December of 1999, MATFX has garnered more than $826.28 million in assets. The fund is currently managed by J. Michael Oh who has been in charge of the fund since January of 2006.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 27.45%, 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 27.72%, 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. MATFX's standard deviation over the past three years is 22.58% compared to the category average of 17%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 18.93% compared to the category average of 14.49%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.86, which means 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. The fund has produced a positive alpha over the past 5 years of 12.4, which shows that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

As competition heats up in the mutual fund market, costs become increasingly important. Compared to its otherwise identical counterpart, a low-cost product will be an outperformer, all other things being equal. Thus, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is vital for investors. In terms of fees, MATFX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.11% compared to the category average of 1.36%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, MATFX is actually cheaper than its peers.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $2,500, and each subsequent investment should be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, Matthews Asia Innovators Investor ( MATFX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Matthews Asia Innovators Investor ( MATFX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Want even more information about MATFX? Then go over to Zacks.com and check out our mutual fund comparison tool, and all of the other great features that we have to help you with your mutual fund analysis 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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