Is Columbia Balanced A (CBLAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

If you have been looking for Mutual Fund Equity Report funds, a place to start could be Columbia Balanced A (CBLAX). CBLAX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Load Error

History of Fund/Manager

Columbia is based in Kansas City, MO, and is the manager of CBLAX. Since Columbia Balanced A made its debut in October of 2002, CBLAX has garnered more than $2.92 billion in assets. 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 5.81%, 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 5.29%, 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, CBLAX’s standard deviation comes in at 14.49%, compared to the category average of 16.07%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 12.65% compared to the category average of 14.12%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

With a 5-year beta of 0.68, 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. The fund has produced a negative alpha over the past 5 years of -1.78, 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, CBLAX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.92% compared to the category average of 0.86%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, CBLAX is actually more expensive than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $2,000; each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, Columbia Balanced A ( CBLAX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, Columbia Balanced A ( CBLAX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Mutual Fund Equity Report, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information. If you want to check out our stock reports as well, make sure to go to Zacks.com to see all of the great tools we have to offer, including our time-tested Zacks Rank.

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