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Is Principal Large Cap Growth I Institutional (PLGIX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Having trouble finding a Mutual Fund Equity Report fund? Principal Large Cap Growth I Institutional (PLGIX) is a potential starting point. PLGIX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

History of Fund/Manager

Principal Financial Group is based in Des Moines, IA, and is the manager of PLGIX. The Principal Large Cap Growth I Institutional made its debut in November of 2000 and PLGIX has managed to accumulate roughly $2.90 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund's current manager, Randy Welch, has been in charge of the fund since June of 2009.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 19.4%, and is 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 17.94%, which places it in the middle 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. The standard deviation of PLGIX over the past three years is 19.39% compared to the category average of 15.17%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 17.48% compared to the category average of 13.47%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.03, so it is likely going to be as volatile as the market at large. 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. PLGIX has generated a positive alpha over the past five years of 2.79, demonstrating 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 primarily on equities that are traded in the United States.

The mutual fund currently has 82.98% of its holdings in stocks, with an average market capitalization of $508.55 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors:

  1. Technology

  2. Retail Trade

With turnover at about 23.1%, this fund makes fewer trades than the average comparable fund.

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, PLGIX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.67% compared to the category average of 1%. So, PLGIX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $0, while there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, Principal Large Cap Growth I Institutional ( PLGIX ) 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 this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Mutual Fund Equity Report, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information. And don't forget, Zacks has all of your needs covered on the equity side too! Make sure to check out Zacks.com for more information on our screening capabilities, Rank, and all our articles as well.


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