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Is T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund (PRASX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Mutual Fund Report for PRASX

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

If you're looking for a Pacific Rim - Equity fund category, then a potential option is T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund (PRASX). PRASX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

- Zacks

Objective

PRASX is classified in the Pacific Rim - Equity segment by Zacks, which is an area full of possibilities. Pacific Rim - Equity mutual funds see big investment opportunities in the dominant export-focused markets of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea. These funds also invest less than 10% of their assets in Japanese firms, as Japan mutual funds are very popular.

History of Fund/Manager

T. Rowe Price is responsible for PRASX, and the company is based out of Baltimore, MD. T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund debuted in September of 1990. Since then, PRASX has accumulated assets of about $3.27 billion, according to the most recently available information. Anh Lu is the fund's current manager and has held that role since June of 2014.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 13.06%, and is 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 14.36%, 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, PRASX's standard deviation comes in at 18.37%, compared to the category average of 17.53%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 15.97% compared to the category average of 14.66%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

The fund has a 5-year beta of 0.72, so investors should note that 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. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a positive alpha of 0.52. This means 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, PRASX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.91% compared to the category average of 1.40%. So, PRASX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

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

Bottom Line

Overall, T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund ( PRASX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund ( PRASX ) looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

Don't stop here for your research on Pacific Rim - Equity 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 PRASX to its peers as well 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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