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The Best Performing Mutual Funds Over the Last 1, 3, & 5 Years

2016 has been off to a wild start. Towards the beginning of the year, fears of both a global and domestic recession increased, and substantially pushed stocks lower. But after a brief rally in February, equities were brought back to within shouting distance of the flat line for the year, and the Federal Reserve turned dovish, cutting its forecast for rate hikes this year to two from four. A slightly weak U.S. dollar helped the commodities industry make a nice turnaround.

China’s struggling economy, however, have increased global growth concerns. When the Chinese made yet another currency change, their actions suggested that the second biggest economy in the world was slowing faster than originally feared. This pullback has quickly spread on a global scale.

In addition to China, it seems that the U.S.’s “Bull Run” is having to tackle many hurdles. Despite these unstable waters, investors should know that there are many profitable investment instruments still out there. There are a good number of mutual funds that have sizable gains in each of the last one-, three-, and five-year periods. Moreover, these funds have robust year-to-date returns, surpassing the broader markets’ return.

Funds with Highest Average Returns

Let’s look at five mutual funds that have had the best annualized gains and over the year-to-date and one-, three-, and five-year periods. The year-to-date robust gains prove that these funds were not only strong gainers during the Bull Run, but they have tackled recent economic concerns as well.

These funds carry a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy),as we expect the funds to outperform its peers in the future. Remember, the goal of the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank is to guide investors to identify potential winners and losers. Unlike most of the fund-rating systems, the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank is not just focused on past performance, but the likely future success of the fund.

American Century Utilities Investor BULIX seeks current income and long-term capital growth. This fund mainly invests 80% of its assets in stocks of companies engaged in the utilities industry. The fund may also invest up to 20% of its total assets in fixed-income securities. Dividends, if any, are distributed quarterly. 

BULIX currently carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy). It boasts a year-to-date return of 16.65% and has returned 14.91% over the past 1 year. The 3- and 5-year annualized gains stand at 11.36% and 11.21%. BULIX has an annual expense ratio of 0.67% and a net asset value of $555.1 million.

ProFunds Utilities UltraSector Inv UTPIX seeks daily investment results that correspond to 150%, before fees and expenses, of the performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Utilities Sector Index. The fund primarily invests in utility companies. It concentrates investments in a particular industry or group of industries to approximately the same extent as the Index.

UTPIX currently carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy). It boasts a year-to-date return of 23.45% and has returned over 20% in the past one year. The 3- and 5-year annualized gains stand at 15.98% and 17.44%. UTPIX has an annual expense ratio of 1.76% and a total asset value of $51.4 million

Vanguard Telecom Services Index VTCAX seeks to track the performance of a benchmark index. The fund employs an indexing investment approach designed to track the performance of the MSCI US Investable Market Index (IMI)/Telecommunication Services 25/50, an index made up of stocks of large, mid-size, and small U.S. companies within the telecommunication services sector, as classified under the Global Industry Classification Standard. 

VTCAX currently carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy). It boasts a year-to-date return of 11.03% and has returned 11.74% in the past one year. The 3- and 5-year annualized gains stand at 11.53% and 9.92%. VTCAX has an annual expense ratio of 0.10% and total asset value of $1.5 billion.

Vanguard Utilities Index VUIAX seeks to track the performance of a benchmark index. The fund employs an indexing investment approach designed to track the performance of the MSCI US Investable Market Index (IMI)/Utilities 25/50, an index made up of stocks of large, mid-size, and small U.S. companies within the utilities sector, as classified under the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS). 

VUIAX currently carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy). It boasts a year-to-date return of 15.23% and has returned over 15% in the past one year. The 3- and 5-year annualized gains stand at 12.12% and 13.27%. VUIAX has an annual expense ratio of 0.10% and total asset value of $2.8 billion.

ProFunds Utilities UltraSector Svc UTPSX seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one and one-half times (1.5x) the daily performance of the Dow Jones U.S. UtilitiesSM Index. The fund invests in securities and derivatives that the adviser believes, in combination, should have similar daily return characteristics as one and one-half times (1.5x) the daily return of the index.

UTPSX currently carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy). It boasts a year-to-date return of 23.09% and has returned 19.3% over the past one year. The 3- and 5-year annualized gains stand at 14.81% and 16.28%. UTPSX has an annual expense ratio of 2.76% and total net asset value of $51.4 million.

About Zacks Mutual Fund Rank

By applying the Zacks Rank to mutual funds, investors can find funds that not only outpaced the market in the past but are also expected to outperform going forward. Pick the best mutual funds with the Zacks Rank.


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