Is Franklin Gold & Precious Metals A (FKRCX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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On the lookout for a Mutual Fund Equity Report fund? Starting with Franklin Gold & Precious Metals A (FKRCX) is one possibility. FKRCX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

History of Fund/Manager

Franklin is based in San Mateo, CA, and is the manager of FKRCX. Franklin Gold & Precious Metals A made its debut in May of 1969, and since then, FKRCX has accumulated about $646.69 million in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. Steve Land is the fund’s current manager and has held that role since April of 1999.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 6.46%, and it sits in the middle third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 5.19%, 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, FKRCX’s standard deviation comes in at 40.16%, compared to the category average of 22.39%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 34.63% compared to the category average of 19.45%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

With a 5-year beta of 1.02, the fund is likely to be as volatile as 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. FKRCX has generated a negative alpha over the past five years of -0.49, demonstrating that 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, FKRCX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.88% compared to the category average of 1.33%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, FKRCX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $1,000; each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, Franklin Gold & Precious Metals A ( FKRCX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, worse downside risk, and lower 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. Want to learn even more? We have a full suite of tools on stocks that you can use to find the best choices for your portfolio too, no matter what kind of investor you are.

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