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Is Hartford Healthcare Fund HLS IB (HBGHX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Mutual Fund Report for HBGHX

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Any investors hoping to find a Sector - Health fund could think about starting with Hartford Healthcare Fund HLS IB (HBGHX). HBGHX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

- Zacks

Objective

We note that HBGHX is a Sector - Health fund, and this area is also loaded with various options. Sector - Health mutual funds give investors an opportunity to focus on one of the largest sectors of the American economy, healthcare. Funds in this category can include everything from for-profit hospitals to pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers.

History of Fund/Manager

Hartford is based in Woodbury, MN, and is the manager of HBGHX. Since Hartford Healthcare Fund HLS IB made its debut in October of 2002, HBGHX has garnered more than $44.17 million in assets. The fund is currently managed by a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 16.09%, 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 15.7%, 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, HBGHX's standard deviation comes in at 18.09%, compared to the category average of 17.05%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 15.82% compared to the category average of 14.73%. 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 0.87, 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. HBGHX has generated a positive alpha over the past five years of 0.57, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking 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, HBGHX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.16% compared to the category average of 1.32%. From a cost perspective, HBGHX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $0, investors should also note that there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, Hartford Healthcare Fund HLS IB ( HBGHX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Hartford Healthcare Fund HLS IB ( HBGHX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Want even more information about HBGHX? 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. 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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