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Is Cohen & Steers Realty Shares (CSRSX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Sector - Real Estate fund seekers should consider taking a look at Cohen & Steers Realty Shares (CSRSX). CSRSX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

We classify CSRSX in the Sector - Real Estate category, an area full of possible choices. Sector - Real Estate mutual funds typically invest in various real estate investment trusts (REIT). A REIT is a popular income vehicle thanks to taxation rules that require REITs to payout at least 90% of their income each year in order to avoid double taxation. This technique makes securities here high dividend payers, and almost bond like in some cases; however, they still carry the risk of equities.

History of Fund/Manager

Cohen & Steers is based in New York, NY, and is the manager of CSRSX. Since Cohen & Steers Realty Shares made its debut in July of 1991, CSRSX has garnered more than $4.25 billion in assets. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 7.99%, and it sits in the top third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 2.71%, 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, CSRSX's standard deviation comes in at 12.89%, compared to the category average of 11.05%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 13.53% compared to the category average of 11.62%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

It's always important to be aware of the downsides to any future investment, so one should not discount the risks that come with this segment. In CSRSX's case, the fund lost 64.55% in the most recent bear market and underperformed its peer group by 0.66%. This makes the fund a possibly worse choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.62, which means it is hypothetically less 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. CSRSX's 5-year performance has produced a positive alpha of 2.94, which means managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

As competition heats up in the mutual fund market, costs become increasingly important. Compared to its otherwise identical counterpart, a low-cost product will be an outperformer, all other things being equal. Thus, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is vital for investors. In terms of fees, CSRSX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.97% compared to the category average of 1.23%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, CSRSX is actually cheaper than its peers.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $10,000, and each subsequent investment should be at least $500.

Bottom Line

Overall, Cohen & Steers Realty Shares ( CSRSX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Cohen & Steers Realty Shares ( CSRSX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Sector - Real Estate, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information. If you want to check out our stock reports as well, make sure to go to Zacks.com to see all of the great tools we have to offer, including our time-tested Zacks Rank.


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