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Is Vanguard Wellington Investor (VWELX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research

Allocation Balanced fund seekers should consider taking a look at Vanguard Wellington Investor (VWELX). VWELX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

VWELX is classified in the Allocation Balanced segment by Zacks, which is an area full of possibilities. Here, investors are able to get a good head start with diversified mutual funds, and play around with core holding options for a portfolio of funds. Allocation Balanced funds look to invest across a balance of asset types, like stocks, bonds, and cash, though including precious metals or commodities is not unusual; these funds are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation.

History of Fund/Manager

Vanguard Group is responsible for VWELX, and the company is based out of Malvern, PA. Vanguard Wellington Investor debuted in July of 1929. Since then, VWELX has accumulated assets of about $17.31 billion, according to 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. VWELX has a 5-year annualized total return of 8.56% 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 10.72%, 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, VWELX's standard deviation comes in at 7.15%, compared to the category average of 8.45%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 7.46% compared to the category average of 8.69%. 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, VWELX lost 32.54% and outperformed its peer group by 4%. This could mean that the fund is a better choice than comparable funds during a bear market.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.6, so investors should note that 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. VWELX has generated a positive alpha over the past five years of 0.98, demonstrating 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, VWELX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.26% compared to the category average of 0.92%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, VWELX is actually cheaper than its peers.

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

Bottom Line

Overall, Vanguard Wellington Investor ( VWELX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Vanguard Wellington Investor ( VWELX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Don't stop here for your research on Allocation Balanced funds. We also have plenty more on our site in order to help you find the best possible fund for your portfolio. Make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for more information about the world of funds, and feel free to compare VWELX to its peers as well for additional information. If you want to check out our stock reports as well, make sure to go to Zacks.com to see all of the great tools we have to offer, including our time-tested Zacks Rank.


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