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Is Harbor Capital Appreciation Institutional (HACAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research

On the lookout for a Large Cap Growth fund? Starting with Harbor Capital Appreciation Institutional (HACAX) is one possibility. HACAX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

HACAX is part of the Large Cap Growth section, and this segment boasts an array of other possible options. Large Cap Growth mutual funds purchase stakes in numerous large U.S. companies that are expected to develop and grow at a faster rate than other large-cap stocks. Companies are usually considered to be large-cap if their market capitalization is over $10 billion.

History of Fund/Manager

Harbor Funds is based in Chicago, IL, and is the manager of HACAX. The Harbor Capital Appreciation Institutional made its debut in December of 1987 and HACAX has managed to accumulate roughly $21.31 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 12.78%, 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 17.78%, 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, HACAX's standard deviation comes in at 15.53%, compared to the category average of 11.08%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 14.86% compared to the category average of 10.86%. This makes the fund more 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. HACAX lost 43.95% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 5%. This makes the fund a possibly better choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.08, so investors should note that it is hypothetically 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 2.94, which shows that 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, HACAX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.66% compared to the category average of 1.06%. From a cost perspective, HACAX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $50,000, investors should also note that there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, Harbor Capital Appreciation Institutional ( HACAX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

For additional information on the Large Cap Growth area of the mutual fund world, make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds. There, you can see more about the ranking process, and dive even deeper into HACAX too 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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