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Is MMHYX a Strong Bond Fund Right Now?

MF Bond Report for MMHYX

By
This story originally appeared on Zacks

There are plenty of choices in the Mutual Fund Bond category, but where should you start your research? Well, one fund that you should consider investigating is MFS Municipals High Income Fund A (MMHYX). MMHYX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

- Zacks

History of Fund/Manager

MMHYX is a part of the MFS family of funds, a company based out of Boston, MA. Since MFS Municipals High Income Fund A made its debut in February of 1984, MMHYX has garnered more than $2.09 billion in assets. 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. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 4.25%, and it sits in the top third among its category peers. If you're interested in shorter time frames, do not dismiss looking at the fund's 3-year annualized total return of 5.87%, 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, MMHYX's standard deviation comes in at 6.97%, compared to the category average of 13.53%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 5.95% compared to the category average of 11.25%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

MMHYX carries a beta of 0.79, meaning that the fund is less volatile than a broad market index of fixed income securities. With this in mind, it has a positive alpha of 0.06, which measures performance on a risk-adjusted basis.

Ratings

Investors should also consider a bond's rating, which is a grade ( 'AAA' to 'D' ) given to a bond that indicates its credit quality. With this letter scale in mind, MMHYX has 41.2% in medium quality bonds, with ratings of 'A' to 'BBB'. The fund's junk bond component-bonds rated 'BB' or below-is at 21.6%, giving MMHYX an average quality of BBB. This means that it focuses on medium quality securities.

However, it is worth noting that 28 % of the bonds in this fund are not ranked, so take the average quality level with a bit of caution.

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, MMHYX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.61% compared to the category average of 0.80%. MMHYX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $1,000, and each subsequent investment should be at least $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, MFS Municipals High Income Fund A ( MMHYX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, better downside risk, and lower fees, MFS Municipals High Income Fund A ( MMHYX ) looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Mutual Fund Bond, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information. For analysis of the rest of your portfolio, make sure to visit Zacks.com for our full suite of tools which will help you investigate all of your stocks and funds in one place.



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