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Is Vanguard Balanced Index Investor (VBINX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Mutual Fund Report for VBINX

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Any investors who are searching for Allocation Balanced funds should take a look at Vanguard Balanced Index Investor (VBINX). The fund does not have a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank, though we have been able to explore other metrics like performance, volatility, and cost.

- Zacks

Objective

VBINX is one of many Zacks' Allocation Balanced mutual funds to pick from. Allocation Balanced funds seek to invest in a balance of asset types, like stocks, bonds, and cash, though including precious metals or commodities is not unusual; these funds are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation. Investors utilize Allocation Balanced funds as a way to get a good start with diversified mutual funds, as well as for core holdings in a portfolio of funds.

History of Fund/Manager

VBINX finds itself in the Vanguard Group family, based out of Malvern, PA. Vanguard Balanced Index Investor debuted in November of 1992. Since then, VBINX has accumulated assets of about $340.67 million, according to the most recently available information. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 11.67%, 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 13.41%, 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. VBINX's standard deviation over the past three years is 11.77% compared to the category average of 15.57%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 9.48% compared to the category average of 12.91%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

The fund has a 5-year beta of 0.62, so investors should note that it is hypothetically less volatile than 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. The fund has produced a positive alpha over the past 5 years of 0.39, 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, VBINX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.18% compared to the category average of 0.89%. So, VBINX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $0 and that each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Want even more information about VBINX? 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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