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Large Cap Blend fund seekers should consider taking a look at Vanguard Growth & Income Inv VQNPX . VQNPX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

We note that VQNPX is a Large Cap Blend option, an area loaded with different options. More often than not, Large Cap Blend mutual funds invest in companies with a market cap of over $10 billion. Buying stakes in bigger companies offer these funds more stability, and are well-suited for investors with a " buy and hold " mindset. Additionally, blended funds mix large, more established firms into their portfolios, giving investors exposure to value and growth opportunities.

History of Fund/Manager

Vanguard Group is based in Malvern, PA, and is the manager of VQNPX. The Vanguard Growth & Income Inv made its debut in December of 1986 and VQNPX has managed to accumulate roughly $2.93 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 15.79%, and is in the top 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 11.24%, 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. VQNPX's standard deviation over the past three years is 9.84% compared to the category average of 9.59%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 9.41% compared to the category average of 9.86%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should always remember the downsides to a potential investment, and this segment carries some risks one should be aware of. In VQNPX's case, the fund lost 51.94% in the most recent bear market and underperformed comparable funds by 2.38%. This makes the fund a possibly worse choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Investors should not forget about beta, an important way to measure a mutual fund's risk compared to the market as a whole. VQNPX has a 5-year beta of 0.99, which means it is likely to be as volatile as the market average. Alpha is an additional metric to take into consideration, since it represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which in this case, is the S&P 500. The fund has produced a positive alpha over the past 5 years of 0.20, which shows that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Investigating 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 primarily on equities that are traded in the United States.

As of the last filing date, the mutual fund has 96.45% of its assets in stocks, which have an average market capitalization of $169.54 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology
  2. Finance
  3. Industrial Cyclical

With turnover at about 96%, this fund is making more trades in a given year than the average of comparable funds.

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, VQNPX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.34% compared to the category average of 1.03%. VQNPX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $3,000; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $1.

Bottom Line

Overall, Vanguard Growth & Income Inv VQNPX has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund 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 Large Cap Blend, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds 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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