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Is Franklin Income A (FKINX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research

If you have been looking for Allocation Balanced funds, it would not be wise to start your search with Franklin Income A (FKINX). FKINX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 5 (Strong Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Zacks' Allocation Balanced funds is an area filled with options, such as FKINX. These funds like to invest in a variety of asset types, finding a balance between stocks, bonds, cash, and sometimes even precious metals and commodities; they are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation. For investors, Allocation Balanced funds can provide an entry point into diversified mutual funds, and present core holding options for a portfolio of funds.

History of Fund/Manager

Franklin Templeton is based in San Mateo, CA, and is the manager of FKINX. Since Franklin Income A made its debut in August of 1948, FKINX has garnered more than $39.16 billion in assets. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 4.96%, and it sits in the middle 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 5.32%, which places it in the bottom 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. FKINX's standard deviation over the past three years is 7.26% compared to the category average of 9.06%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 8.37% compared to the category average of 9.35%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should always remember the downsides to a potential investment, and this segment carries some risks one should be aware of. In the most recent bear market, FKINX lost 39.13% and underperformed comparable funds by 3%. These results could imply that the fund is a worse choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Nevertheless, with a 5-year beta of 0.61, the fund is likely to be less volatile than the market average. Another factor to consider is alpha, as it reflects a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark-in this case, the S&P 500. The fund has produced a negative alpha over the past 5 years of -2.78, which shows 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, FKINX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.62% compared to the category average of 0.92%. From a cost perspective, FKINX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $1,000, investors should also note that there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, Franklin Income A ( FKINX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Franklin Income A ( FKINX ) looks like a somewhat weak choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on FKINXin the Allocation Balanced 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. If you are more of a stock investor, make sure to also check out our Zacks Rank, and our full suite of tools we have available for novice and professional investors alike.


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