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Is Vanguard Total International Stock Index AD (VTIAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research

Are you on the hunt for an Index fund? You should think about starting with Vanguard Total International Stock Index AD (VTIAX). VTIAX has no Zacks Mutual Fund Rank, but we have been able to look into other metrics like performance, volatility, and cost.

History of Fund/Manager

Vanguard Group is based in Malvern, PA, and is the manager of VTIAX. Since Vanguard Total International Stock Index AD made its debut in November of 2010, VTIAX has garnered more than $74.92 billion in assets. The fund is currently managed by Michael Perre who has been in charge of the fund since November of 2010.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 2.22%, and is in the bottom 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 6.68%, 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. Over the past three years, VTIAX's standard deviation comes in at 11.38%, compared to the category average of 8.94%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 12.22% compared to the category average of 9.31%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors cannot discount the risks to this segment though, as it is always important to remember the downside for any potential investment.

Nevertheless, investors should also note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.84, which means it is hypothetically less 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. With a negative alpha of -6.6, managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

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, VTIAX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.11% compared to the category average of 0.76%. So, VTIAX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $3,000, and each subsequent investment should be at least $1.

Bottom Line

This could just be the start of your research on VTIAXin the Index 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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