Canada markets closed

Is Ave Maria Growth Fund (AVEGX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research

Looking for a Mid Cap Growth fund? You may want to consider Ave Maria Growth Fund (AVEGX) as a possible option. AVEGX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

AVEGX is part of the Mid Cap Growth section, a segment that boasts a wide array of possible selections. While Mid Cap Growth mutual funds choose companies with a stock market valuation between $2 billion and $10 billion, stocks in these funds are also expected to show broad considerable growth opportunities for investors compared to their peers. To be considered a growth stock, companies must consistently report impressive sales and/or earnings growth.

History of Fund/Manager

Ave Maria is responsible for AVEGX, and the company is based out of Plymouth, MI. The Ave Maria Growth Fund made its debut in May of 2003 and AVEGX has managed to accumulate roughly $742.20 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund's current manager, Richard L. Platte Jr.Has been in charge of the fund since September of 2013.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 12.68%, and is 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 18.84%, 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, AVEGX's standard deviation comes in at 11.95%, compared to the category average of 14.84%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 11.67% compared to the category average of 14.2%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

One cannot ignore the volatility of this segment, however, as it is always important for investors to remember the downside to any potential investment. AVEGX lost 43.21% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 9%. These results could imply that the fund is a better choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Nevertheless, with a 5-year beta of 0.91, the fund is likely to be less volatile than the market average. Because alpha represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which is the S&P 500 in this case, one should pay attention to this metric as well. With a positive alpha of 2.6, 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, AVEGX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.95% compared to the category average of 1.22%. From a cost perspective, AVEGX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $2,500; each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, Ave Maria Growth Fund ( AVEGX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Ave Maria Growth Fund ( AVEGX ) looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on AVEGXin the Mid Cap Growth category. Consider going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information about this fund, and all the others that we rank as well 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.


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 (AVEGX): Fund Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research