Is T. Rowe Price Personal Strategy Balanced (TRPBX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If investors are looking at the Mutual Fund Equity Report fund category, make sure to pass over T. Rowe Price Personal Strategy Balanced (TRPBX). TRPBX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 4 (Sell), which is based on various forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

History of Fund/Manager

TRPBX finds itself in the T. Rowe Price family, based out of Baltimore, MD. Since T. Rowe Price Personal Strategy Balanced made its debut in June of 1994, TRPBX has garnered more than $1.30 billion in assets. Charles Shriver is the fund’s current manager and has held that role since May of 2011.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. TRPBX has a 5-year annualized total return of 3.65% and is 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 1.63%, which places it in the bottom 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, TRPBX’s standard deviation comes in at 14.12%, compared to the category average of 15.69%. The fund’s standard deviation over the past 5 years is 12.09% compared to the category average of 13.67%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

With a 5-year beta of 0.62, 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 negative alpha of -2.79, managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick 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, TRPBX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.51% compared to the category average of 0.86%. So, TRPBX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $2,500; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, T. Rowe Price Personal Strategy Balanced ( TRPBX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a somewhat weak 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. 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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