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Is American Funds Balanced R3 (RLBCX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Mutual Fund Report for RLBCX

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

If you have been looking for Mutual Fund Equity Report funds, a place to start could be American Funds Balanced R3 (RLBCX). RLBCX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

- Zacks

History of Fund/Manager

RLBCX finds itself in the American Funds family, based out of Los Angeles, CA. The American Funds Balanced R3 made its debut in July of 1975 and RLBCX has managed to accumulate roughly $3 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 10.45%, and is in the middle 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 11.78%, 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. Over the past three years, RLBCX's standard deviation comes in at 10.76%, compared to the category average of 14.64%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 9.02% compared to the category average of 12.38%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should not forget about beta, an important way to measure a mutual fund's risk compared to the market as a whole. RLBCX has a 5-year beta of 0.57, which means it is likely to be less volatile than the market average. 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. RLBCX's 5-year performance has produced a negative alpha of -0.27, which means managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

For investors, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is key, since costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing. Competition is heating up in this space, and a lower cost product will likely outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, all things being equal. In terms of fees, RLBCX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.91% compared to the category average of 0.89%. From a cost perspective, RLBCX is actually more expensive than its peers.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $250 and that each subsequent investment needs to be at $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, American Funds Balanced R3 ( RLBCX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, this fund looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Your research on the Mutual Fund Equity Report segment doesn't have to stop here. You can check out all the great mutual fund tools we have to offer by going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds to see the additional features we offer 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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