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Is Dodge & Cox International Stock (DODFX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Mutual Fund Report for DODFX

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Non US - Equity fund seekers should consider taking a look at Dodge & Cox International Stock (DODFX). DODFX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

- Zacks

Objective

We classify DODFX in the Non US - Equity category, which is an area rife with potential choices. Investing in companies outside the United States is how Non US - Equity funds set themselves apart, since global funds tend to keep a good portion of their portfolio stateside. Many of these funds like to allocate across emerging and developed markets, and will often focus on all cap levels.

History of Fund/Manager

Dodge & Cox is based in San Francisco, CA, and is the manager of DODFX. Dodge & Cox International Stock made its debut in May of 2001, and since then, DODFX has accumulated about $40.79 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. 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. DODFX has a 5-year annualized total return of 8.37% and it sits 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 5.07%, 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, DODFX's standard deviation comes in at 23.22%, compared to the category average of 20.35%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 19.02% compared to the category average of 16.75%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

The fund has a 5-year beta of 1.03, so investors should note that it is hypothetically as volatile as the market at large. 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. With a negative alpha of -7.7, 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, DODFX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.63% compared to the category average of 1.18%. From a cost perspective, DODFX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $2,500, investors should also note that each subsequent investment needs to be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, Dodge & Cox International Stock ( DODFX ) 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.

Your research on the Non US - Equity 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. Want to learn even more? We have a full suite of tools on stocks that you can use to find the best choices for your portfolio too, no matter what kind of investor you are.



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