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Is Fidelity Mid-Cap Stock Fund (FMCSX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research

There are plenty of choices in the Mid Cap Blend category, but where should you start your research? Well, one fund that might be worth investigating is Fidelity Mid-Cap Stock Fund (FMCSX). FMCSX possesses 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 Mid Cap Blend mutual funds is an area filled with options, such as FMCSX. Mid Cap Blend funds expose investors to value picks, income opportunities, and exciting growth potential, but also gives some stability; these funds usually seek a stock portfolio of various size and style, which allows for diversification when the focus is on companies with market capitalization in the range of $2 billion to $10 billion.

History of Fund/Manager

Fidelity is based in Boston, MA, and is the manager of FMCSX. Fidelity Mid-Cap Stock Fund debuted in March of 1994. Since then, FMCSX has accumulated assets of about $5.43 billion, according to the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by John D. Roth who has been in charge of the fund since February of 2011.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 9.16%, and it sits in the top third among its category peers. But if you are looking for a shorter time frame, it is also worth looking at its 3-year annualized total return of 11.65%, 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, FMCSX's standard deviation comes in at 10.95%, compared to the category average of 12.06%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 11.23% compared to the category average of 11.71%. 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. FMCSX lost 56.14% in the most recent bear market and underperformed comparable funds by 5%. These results could imply that the fund is a worse choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.88, so investors should note that 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. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a negative alpha of -1.12. This means that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

For investors, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is key, since costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing. Competition is heating up in this space, and a lower cost product will likely outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, all things being equal. In terms of fees, FMCSX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.67% compared to the category average of 1.08%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, FMCSX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $0; each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, Fidelity Mid-Cap Stock Fund ( FMCSX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Fidelity Mid-Cap Stock Fund ( FMCSX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on FMCSXin the Mid Cap Blend 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. For analysis of the rest of your portfolio, make sure to visit Zacks.com for our full suite of tools which will help you investigate all of your stocks and funds in one place.


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