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Is Columbia Global Technology Growth A (CTCAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Looking for a Sector - Tech fund? You may want to consider Columbia Global Technology Growth A (CTCAX) as a possible option. CTCAX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Sector - Tech funds is an area filled with options, and CTCAX is one of them. Sector - Tech mutual funds allow investors to own a stake in a notoriously volatile sector with a much more diversified approach. Tech companies can be in any number of industries such as semiconductors, software, internet, networking just to name a few.

History of Fund/Manager

CTCAX finds itself in the Columbia family, based out of Boston, MA. The Columbia Global Technology Growth A made its debut in November of 2002 and CTCAX has managed to accumulate roughly $342.41 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund's current manager, Rahul Narang, has been in charge of the fund since July of 2012.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. CTCAX has a 5-year annualized total return of 19.81% and it sits 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 24.85%, 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, CTCAX's standard deviation comes in at 15.82%, compared to the category average of 10.8%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 15.6% compared to the category average of 10.91%. This makes the fund more 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. In the most recent bear market, CTCAX lost 56.93% and underperformed its peer group by 4%. This means that the fund could possibly be a worse choice than its peers during a down market environment.

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.15, so it is likely going to be more volatile than the market at large. 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 6.5, which shows that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Holdings

Exploring 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.

This fund is currently holding about 92.99% stock in stocks, and these companies have an average market capitalization of $250.10 billion. This fund's turnover is about 52%, so the fund managers are 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, CTCAX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.24% compared to the category average of 1.30%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, CTCAX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $2,000 and that each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, Columbia Global Technology Growth A ( CTCAX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Columbia Global Technology Growth A ( CTCAX ) looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

Your research on the Sector - Tech 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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