Is Gabelli Utilities AAA (GABUX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Mutual Fund Equity Report fund seekers should not consider taking a look at Gabelli Utilities AAA (GABUX) at this time. GABUX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 5 (Strong Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

History of Fund/Manager

Gabelli Funds is based in Rye, NY, and is the manager of GABUX. Since Gabelli Utilities AAA made its debut in January of 2002, GABUX has garnered more than $283.37 million in assets. A team of investment professionals is the fund’s current manager.

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 6.82%, and is in the top third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 5.94%, 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. Compared to the category average of 14.95%, the standard deviation of GABUX over the past three years is 13.83%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 11.8% compared to the category average of 12.67%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

The fund has a 5-year beta of 0.57, so investors should note that it is hypothetically less volatile than the market at large. 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. The fund has produced a negative alpha over the past 5 years of -3.15, which shows that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

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, GABUX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.36% compared to the category average of 1.23%. GABUX is actually more expensive than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

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, Gabelli Utilities AAA ( GABUX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, Gabelli Utilities AAA ( GABUX ) looks like a poor potential choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on GABUXin the Mutual Fund Equity Report 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. 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.

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