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Is Delaware Healthcare A (DLHAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

If you've been stuck searching for Sector - Health funds, consider Delaware Healthcare A DLHAX as a possibility. DLHAX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Sector - Health funds is an area filled with options, such as DLHAX. Healthcare is one of the biggest sectors of the American economy, and Sector - Health mutual funds provide a great opportunity to invest in this industry. Here, funds can include everything from for-profit hospitals to pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers.

History of Fund/Manager

Delaware Investments is responsible for DLHAX, and the company is based out of Philadelphia, PA. Since Delaware Healthcare A made its debut in September of 2007, DLHAX has garnered more than $443.2 million in assets. The fund's current manager, Liu Er Chen, has been in charge of the fund since September of 2007.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 20.81%, and is 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 10.77%, 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. DLHAX's standard deviation over the past three years is 13.68% compared to the category average of 10.78%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 13.27% compared to the category average of 16.21%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

One cannot ignore the volatility of this segment, however, as it is always important for investors to remember the downside to any potential investment. DLHAX lost 24.67% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 8.18%. This might suggest that the fund is a better choice than its peers during a bear market.

Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.06, which means it is hypothetically more volatile than the market at large. 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. DLHAX has generated a positive alpha over the past five years of 4.55, demonstrating 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 largely on equities that are traded in the United States.

Currently, this mutual fund is holding 97.92% stock in stocks, with an average market capitalization of $68.70 billion.

With turnover at about 29%, this fund is making fewer trades than its comparable peers.

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, DLHAX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.38% compared to the category average of 1.34%. So, DLHAX is actually more expensive than its peers from a cost perspective.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $1,000, investors should also note that each subsequent investment needs to be at least $100.

Bottom Line

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

This could just be the start of your research on DLHAXin the Sector - Health category. Consider going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information about this fund, and all the others that we rank 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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