Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

Is Franklin Balanced A (FBLAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Mutual Fund Report for FBLAX

By
This story originally appeared on Zacks

Mutual Fund Equity Report fund seekers may want to consider taking a look at Franklin Balanced A (FBLAX). FBLAX bears 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

Franklin Templeton is based in San Mateo, CA, and is the manager of FBLAX. The Franklin Balanced A made its debut in August of 2006 and FBLAX has managed to accumulate roughly $3.51 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 8.11%, and it sits in the bottom 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 9.9%, which places it in the bottom 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, FBLAX's standard deviation comes in at 10.22%, compared to the category average of 14.32%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 8.42% compared to the category average of 12.09%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.51, so it is likely going to be 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. FBLAX's 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -1.36, which means managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Exploring the equity holdings of a mutual fund is also a valuable exercise. This can show us how the manager is applying their stated methodology, as well as if there are any inherent biases in their approach. For this particular fund, the focus is mostly on equities that are traded in the United States.

The mutual fund currently has 81.17% of its holdings in stocks, with an average market capitalization of $178.65 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Other
  2. Technology

Turnover is 40.6%, which means this fund makes fewer trades than its comparable peers.

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, FBLAX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.91% compared to the category average of 0.89%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, FBLAX is actually more expensive than its peers.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $1,000 and that each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, Franklin Balanced A ( FBLAX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively weak performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, this fund looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

For additional information on the Mutual Fund Equity Report area of the mutual fund world, make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds. There, you can see more about the ranking process, and dive even deeper into FBLAX too for additional information. If you are more of a stock investor, make sure to also check out our Zacks Rank, and our full suite of tools we have available for novice and professional investors alike.



Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double"

From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all.

As one investor put it, “curing and preventing hundreds of diseases…what should that market be worth?” This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.

Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

 

Get Your Free (FBLAX): Fund Analysis Report

 

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

 

Zacks Investment Research