|Expense Ratio (net)||0.27%|
|Last Cap Gain||0.00|
|Morningstar Risk Rating||Below Average|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.86|
|5y Average Return||N/A|
|Average for Category||N/A|
|Inception Date||Mar 21, 1988|
If the 401(k) world held a popularity contest, Vanguard would win. More Americans choose to stash their retirement savings in Vanguard 401(k) funds above all other firms' funds in the country.In this, our annual review of widely held 401(k) funds - mutual funds with the most in 401(k) assets - 32 Vanguard funds rank among the top 100.Of course, just over a dozen of those are index funds, but Vanguard offers many actively managed funds, too. Good ones.Today, we're going to look at some of the best Vanguard funds for your 401(k) ... and also weed out a few lesser options. We'll review nine active Vanguard funds, as well as the popular Vanguard Target Retirement series of target-date funds. (Ten Vanguard target-date portfolios rank among the 100 most popular retirement funds). We'll rate each Buy, Sell or Hold. SEE ALSO: The 30 Best Mutual Funds in 401(k) Retirement Plans
[Editor's note: "7 Low-Risk Mutual Funds to Buy Now" was previously published in September 2019. It has since been updated to include the most relevant information available.]At their core, mutual funds should be lower-risk investments. The aim of many mutual funds is to provide broad-based exposure to a particular asset class; stocks, bonds, etc. With that diversity, at least in theory, should come to a lower risk profile for investors.According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips"All funds carry some level of risk. With mutual funds, you may lose some or all of the money you invest because the securities held by a fund can go down in value. Dividends or interest payments may also change as market conditions change…A fund's past performance is not as important as you might think because past performance does not predict future returns. But past performance can tell you how volatile or stable a fund has been over a period of time. The more volatile the fund, the higher the investment risk."Indeed, an array of low-risk mutual funds spanning multiple asset classes are currently available to investors. Still, even some low-risk mutual funds are not entirely free of risk. Even low-risk mutual funds with fixed income exposure have some risk."Bond mutual funds -- like all mutual funds -- involve investment risk, including the possible loss of principal. A fundamental principle of investing known as the risk/reward tradeoff means that when you make an informed decision to assume some risk, you also create the opportunity for reward. Investors should be aware of the risks and potential for losses associated with bond mutual fund investing," according to the Investment Company Institute (ICI). * 7 Reasons to Buy Canopy Growth Stock Here are a few low-risk mutual funds for conservative investors to consider. Fidelity Income Conservative Bond Fund (FCONX)Source: Shutterstock Expense Ratio: 0.35% per year, or $35 on a $10,000 investment.The Fidelity Income Conservative Bond Fund (MUTF:FCONX) epitomizes "low-risk mutual fund," particularly at a time when interest rates could rise. Short-term bond funds are among this year's most popular fixed-income funds due to the lower duration risk profile offered by short-dated bonds.Credit risk is benign with this Fidelity fund because its holdings are comprised primarily of sovereign debt. Nearly 75% of FCONX's holdings are rated AA or A. Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities Fund (VIPSX)Expense Ratio: 0.2%When looking for low-risk mutual funds, the Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities Fund (MUTF:VIPSX) highlighted here is the investor class of this popular product.Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS), the bonds held by this Vanguard fund, are low-risk bonds. Reduced risk in the fixed income space usually means lower yields, and that is true of TIPS. * The 7 Best Penny Stocks to Buy Income on this low-risk mutual fund "can fluctuate more in this fund because payments depend on inflation changes. Investors with a long-term time horizon may wish to consider this fund as a complement to an already diversified fixed income portfolio," according to Vanguard. Vanguard Equity Income Fund (VEIPX)Expense Ratio: 0.27%Over long holding periods, dividend stocks can reduce a portfolio's risk profile and there are plenty of dividend funds that can be classified as low-risk mutual funds, include the Vanguard Equity Income Fund (MUTF:VEIPX). VEIPX is the investor share class of this popular Vanguard offering.This low-risk mutual fund holds 96.5% stocks and most of them have large market caps. Financial services and technology stocks combine for over 25% of VEIPX's roster while the healthcare and industrial sectors also combine for more than 25%.VEIPX does not explicitly have a dividend increase streak requirement, but this fund is home to some stocks with lengthy histories of rising payouts. Several of VEIPX's top 10 holdings have dividend increase streaks that can be measured in decades. American Century Mid-Cap Value Fund (ACLAX)Expense Ratio: 1.23%Some words of advice regarding the American Century Mid-Cap Value Fund (MUTF:ACLAX). As the above expense ratio indicates, this is not a cheap fund and that status is further cemented by a 5.75% sales load, meaning investors considering this low-risk mutual fund should be in it for the long-term.On to better news, mid-caps have a lengthy history of outperforming large-caps while doing so with less volatility than small-cap stocks. In fact, ACLAX's five-year standard deviation is only 3.7, confirming that this is, in fact, a low-risk mutual fund. * 7 Dividend Stocks to Buy (With Brands You Can Find In Your Kitchen) The financial services and industrial sectors combine for over 48% of ACLAX's weight. None of the fund's holdings exceed a weight of 3.01% as of the end of the first quarter. Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX)Source: Shutterstock Expense Ratio: 0.04%The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (MUTF:VTSAX) is a passively managed index fund, not an active mutual fund. In the fund world, VTSAX is one of the true giants among equity products. As of the end of May, across various share classes, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund, had almost $211 billion of net assets.VTSAX can be considered a low-risk mutual fund among equity funds due in part to its massive roster. This Vanguard fund is home to over 3,000 stocks, giving it a lineup that is more than six times larger than the S&P 500.VTSAX is the Admiral share class of this fund and has an annual fee that makes this fund very cheap. Fidelity Advisor Strategic Income Fund (FSTAX)Source: Shutterstock Expense Ratio: 0.98%The Fidelity Advisor Strategic Income Fund (MUTF:FSTAX) is a multi-sector bond fund, offering investors exposure to multiple corners of the fixed income universe."The fund uses a neutral mix of approximately 45% high yield, 25% U.S. Government and investment-grade, 15% emerging markets, and 15% foreign developed markets. Engaging in transactions that have a leveraging effect on the fund," according to Fidelity. * 7 Beverage Stocks to Buy Now The fund's managers can adjust credit and interest rate risk as market conditions. The fund has $16.6 billion of assets and has beaten its benchmark over the last three years. Invesco Global Low Volatility Equity Yield Fund (GTNDX)Source: Shutterstock Expense Ratio: 1.59%The Invesco Global Low Volatility Equity Yield Fund (MUTF:GTNDX) can be considered another low-risk mutual fund tracking the mid-cap space. This low-risk mutual fund also sports a standard deviation of just 2.6, a point sure to attract conservative investors.Currently, GTNDX is underweight technology stocks, and overweight industrials and materials. The latter category have kept its performance quite solid this year.This low-risk mutual fund "has dual objectives of providing income and long-term growth of capital. In addition to these objectives, the fund targets a level of total volatility that is less than that of its capitalization-weighted market index," according to the issuer.As of this writing, Todd Shriber does not own any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Stocks to Buy for a Dovish Fed * 7 Stocks That Insiders Are Buying * 5 High-Price Stocks to Buy Worthy of Your Portfolio The post 7 Low-Risk Mutual Funds to Buy Now appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Actively managed mutual funds typically carry higher fees and expenses than index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), explaining why passive products have long been stealing market share from active funds.Another cost irritant associated with some active mutual funds is the load. A mutual fund load is real nuisance because it is a charge that goes to compensate a middleman, someone in between the investor and the fund issuer. Like any other fee, mutual fund loads can be drags on investor outcomes, which is never a positive thing.Given the peskiness and, arguably, lack of necessity associated with loads, it is easy to understand why investors who like mutual funds really like no-load funds. While many no-load mutual funds still carry higher costs than passively managed ETFs and index funds, the good news is that saving on loads enhances investors' returns.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 5 Dividend Stocks Perfect for Retirees Here are some no-load mutual funds to consider. American Century High-Yield Municipal Fund Investor Class (ABHYX)Expense Ratio: 0.6% per year, or $60 on a $10,000 investment.The American Century High-Yield Municipal Fund Investor Class (MUTF:ABHYX) requires a minimum investment of $5,000, but at least this is a no-load mutual fund and its expenses are below those found in the category average.This fund focuses on high-yield municipal debt and is "designed to provide shareholders with a high level federal tax-free income while maintaining low exposure to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)," according to the issuer.ABHYX has a portfolio turnover of 49%, a 30-day SEC yield of 3.27% and a trailing-12-month yield of 3.8%. The fund's average duration is 5.5 years and about half its holdings are rated A, BBB or BB. Fidelity Balanced Fund (FBALX)Expense Ratio: 0.53%Fidelity has long been a giant in the world of actively managed mutual funds, but the firm has recently been asserting its dominance in the passive spaces, even offering several no-fee index funds and some of the cheapest ETFs on the market. Part of Fidelity's low-cost push has been to eliminate minimum investments, so not only is the Fidelity Balanced Fund (MUTF:FBALX) a no-load mutual fund, it does not have minimum investment, either.This no-load mutual fund has been around for nearly 34 years and has low expenses compared to the category average, a better return profile and a five-star Morninstar rating.As a balanced fund, FBALX holds both stocks and bonds. Its equity lineup is considered large-cap blend, but has often leaned toward large-cap growth. The technology and healthcare sectors combine for about 33% of FBALX's equity lineup. * 10 S&P 500 Stocks to Weather the Earnings Storm FBALX's bond roster spans more than 10 fixed-income categories, including Treasuries, investment-grade corporate debt and junk bonds. Vanguard Equity Income Investor Shares (VEIPX)Expense Ratio: 0.27%Just by the name, you should expect the Vanguard Equity Income Investor Shares (MUTF:VEIPX) to be a no-load mutual fund because Vanguard is a low-cost leader. Vanguard funds are among the industry's least expensive, and loads are not in the issuer's language.Because VEIPX "typically invests in companies that are dedicated to consistently paying dividends, it may have a higher yield than other Vanguard stock mutual funds," according to Vanguard. "The fund's emphasis on slower-growing, higher-yielding companies can also mean that its total return may not be as strong in a significant bull market."This fund holds 191 stocks with a median market value of $119.6 billion. Nearly a third of the fund's weight is allocated to financial services and healthcare names. VEIPX does require a $3,000 minimum investment. Oakmark Intenrnational (OAKIX)Source: USAFAExpense Ratio: 0.96%The Oakmark Intenrnational Fund (MUTF:OAKIX) is a no-load mutual fund for investors seeking international equity exposure. The investor class of this fund, which is highlighted here, has a minimum investment of just $1,000."Oakmark International invests in a diversified portfolio of common stocks of non-U.S. companies. The fund generally focuses on mid- and large-cap companies, though small-cap companies are also eligible for investment," according to Oakmark. * 7 Stocks to Buy for Spring Season Growth This mutual fund can be used as an alternative to passive EAFE (Europe, Asia and Far East) funds because OAKIX has similar geographic exposures, though the fund is significantly underweight Japan relative to the MSCI EAFE Index. The U.K. and Germany combine for 36% of the fund's geographic exposure. This is a targeted fund, a trait not often seen among passive EAFE strategies, as OAKIX holds just 61 stocks. Metropolitan West Total Return Bond Fund (MWTRX)Source: Shutterstock Expense Ratio: 0.67%The Metropolitan West Total Return Bond Fund (MUTF:MWTRX) is an actively managed alternative to passive aggregate bond funds. MWTRX usually has a duration of two to eight years and an average maturity of two to 15 years.The fund can invest in "corporate bonds, notes, collateralized bond obligations, collateralized debt obligations, mortgage-related and asset-backed securities, bank loans, money-market securities, swaps, futures, municipal sercurities, options, credit default swaps, private placements and restricted securities," according to the issuer.At the end of last year, the bulk of MWTRX's holdings were Treasuries, U.S. government agency debt and mortgage-backed securities (MBS), ensuring the fund's credit quality was high. Vanguard Mid-Cap Index Fund -- Admiral Shares (VIMAX)Expense Ratio: 0.05%For investors looking for a cost-efficient, no-load mutual fund focusing on mid-cap stocks, the Vanguard Mid-Cap Index Fund -- Admiral Shares (MUTF:VIMAX) is one of the better options to consider. VIMAX is cheaper than 95% of competing funds, according to Vanguard data. It requires a minimum investment of $3,000.This no-load mutual fund is a mid-cap blend fund, meaning its 368 holdings include both growth and value stocks. The median market value of VIMAX's holdings is $14.7 billion, meaning this fund actually resides in the lower end of large-cap territory.Financial services, industrial and technology stocks combine for over 55% of the fund's weight. This no-load mutual fund carries a five-star Morningstar rating. * 7 Stocks That Can Outperform for Years "Vanguard Mid-Cap Index is one of the best funds available for U.S. mid-cap stock exposure," according to the research firm. Fidelity New Markets Income Fund (FNMIX)Expense Ratio: 0.84%.For investors willing to take on more risk with their fixed-income investments, the Fidelity New Markets Income Fund (MUTF:FNMIX) is a compelling option. This Fidelity fund, which does not have a minimum investment, targets emerging markets bonds. Due to the risks associated with emerging-markets debt relative to U.S. government bonds, emerging markets bond funds usually carry higher yields. FNMIX fits that bill with a 30-day SEC yield of 5.6% and trailing-12-month yield of 4.8%.The fund's average maturity is just over 11 years. Credit quality is usually the primary consideration with emerging-markets bond funds and FNMIX is no different. This no-load mutual fund allocates about 64% of its weight to bonds rated BBB, BB or B, indicating a fair amount of the fund's holdings carry non-investment-grade ratings.Mexico, Turkey and Brazil are FNMIX's largest geographic exposures. The fund, which has a four-star Morningstar rating, has a duration of 6.48 years.As of this writing, Todd Shriber did not own any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 5 Dividend Stocks Perfect for Retirees * 7 Reasons the Stock Market Rally Isn't Over Yet * 10 S&P 500 Stocks to Weather the Earnings Storm Compare Brokers The post 7 No-Load Mutual Funds to Buy appeared first on InvestorPlace.
The stock market has given investors a bad case of whiplash over the past few months. In December, the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index tumbled 9%. Since then, however, the benchmark has reversed course and climbed 11%.When the market makes violent swings, the worst thing you can do is to try to stay in sync with it by selling when stocks fall and purchasing when they rebound. But if you own a fistful of volatile funds - even excellent ones - a market like today's can sucker you into making the wrong trades.The solution? If you've made a bad trade or two, or simply are losing sleep over the potential for another bout of market rockiness, consider replacing one or two of your most volatile funds - no matter how good they are - for more placid vehicles.Excellent work by Russel Kinnel at Morningstar has shown that individual investors have a much easier time holding on to less volatile funds than more volatile fare. Consequently, investors in those lower-risk funds, on average, tend to make more money over time than do investors in jackrabbit funds.The point, after all, isn't to own funds that will beat the benchmark in full-throttle bull markets. Less volatile funds likely will outpace the indexes during bear markets and earn healthy overall returns over a full market cycle while giving you more peace of mind.Here are five of the best mutual funds for a jumpy market like today's. Some are pure stock funds, while others hold some bonds. SEE ALSO: The 25 Best Low-Fee Mutual Funds You Can Buy
Vanguard is widely known as the investment firm that launched the index fund movement. The Pennsylvania-based fund giant is also the second-largest U.S. issuer of ETFs and widely viewed as one of the fund industry's low-cost leaders. Given its expansive lineup of ETFs, index funds and mutual funds, Vanguard has something for every investor and most of those funds come with low fees. That includes Vanguard's various offerings that qualify as high-yield funds. Vanguard mutual funds span scores of assets classes -- including several corners of the fixed income universe, domestic stocks and foreign equities -- presenting investors with multiple options for boosting their portfolios' income profiles. InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 7 Stocks That Could Double in 2019 Here are some of the best Vanguard mutual funds for income-seeking investors. Source: Shutterstock ### Vanguard High-Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX) Expense ratio: 0.23% per year, or $23 on a $10,000 investment. The company currently does not offer a junk-bond ETF, so investors looking for high-yield corporate bond exposure via a Vanguard mutual fund should turn to the Vanguard High-Yield Corporate Fund -- Investor Shares (MUTF:VWEHX). This share class of this Vanguard mutual fund requires a minimum investment of $3,000. Among junk bond funds, VWEHX has a lengthy track record -- it debuted 41 years ago. This Vanguard mutual fund holds 466 junk bonds and has an average duration of 4.4 years, which is lower than the durations found on some high-yield corporate ETFs. VWEHX's weight to highly speculative CCC-rated debt is 8%. Those are the lowest rated junk bonds. A 12.30% allocation to energy-sector debt indicates this Vanguard mutual fund could have some sensitivity to oil prices, but that energy exposure is slightly below the category average. Source: Shutterstock ### Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund (VWESX) Expense ratio: 0.22% per year, or $22 on a $10,000 investment. The aforementioned VWEHX is the lone Vanguard mutual fund dedicated to junk bonds. But Vanguard offers several avenues for tapping into investment-grade corporate debt. For yield-minded investors with long-term time horizons, the Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund -- Investor Shares (MUTF:VWESX) is a Vanguard mutual fund to consider. As seasoned bond investors know, the longer a bond's term, the more interest rate risk incurred. But that risk is rewarded with higher yields. VWESX yields about 4.50% as compensation for an average duration of 13.30 years among this Vanguard mutual fund's 834 holdings. Over 85% of VWESX's holdings have maturities of either 10 to 20 years or 20 to 30 years. * 7 Semiconductor Stocks to Buy Now There is another perk with this Vanguard mutual fund: relatively low exposure to BBB-rated corporate bonds. About 87% of VWESX's holdings carry an A rating of some kind. Source: Shutterstock ### Vanguard Equity Income Fund (VEIPX) Expense ratio: 0.26% per year, or $26 on a $10,000 investment. Like the other Vanguard mutual funds highlighted here, the Vanguard Equity Income Fund -- Investor Shares (MUTF:VEIPX) requires a minimum investment of $3,000. "Since the fund typically invests in companies that are dedicated to consistently paying dividends, it may have a higher yield than other Vanguard stock mutual funds," according to Vanguard. "The fund's emphasis on slower-growing, higher-yielding companies can also mean that its total return may not be as strong in a significant bull market." VEIPX is home to 187 domestic large caps with a median market value of $103.3 billion. While this Vanguard mutual fund is a dividend play, its combined weight of 22.10% to the higher-yielding consumer staples, real estate and utilities sectors is not excessive relative to other high dividend strategies. Financial services and healthcare stocks combine for a third of the fund's weight. Source: Shutterstock ### Vanguard Emerging Markets Bond Fund (VEMBX) Expense ratio: 0.60% per year, or $60 on a $10,000 investment. The Vanguard Emerging Markets Bond Fund -- Investor Shares (MUTF:VEMBX) is a Vanguard mutual fund for adventurous investors and yield hunters alike. After slumping last year, emerging markets bonds are rallying to start 2019 as fixed income market observers expect the Federal Reserve's pace of interest rate hikes to slow and the dollar to weaken. The majority of the 93 holdings in this Vanguard mutual fund are dollar-denominated, but the fund has the flexibility to hold some bonds in local currencies. Either way, a weaker dollar could be a positive catalyst for this Vanguard mutual fund in 2019. * 3 Casino Stocks That Could Bounce Higher The bulk of VEMBX's holdings carry investment-grade ratings, but many of those bonds are rated at the lower ends of the investment-grade spectrum. There is some duration risk with this Vanguard mutual fund as highlighted by an average duration of 7.1 years. But investors are compensated for that risk with a yield of around 4.50%. Source: Shutterstock ### Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Fund (VHDYX) Expense ratio: 0.15% per year, or $15 on a $10,000 investment. The Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Fund -- Investor Shares (MUTF:VHDYX) is a Vanguard mutual fund for investors looking to focus on dividend-paying stocks with penchants for sporting above-average yields. While VHDYX aims to be a high-dividend play, its exposure to the higher-yielding consumer staples, real estate and utilities sectors is just 21.40% and the fund actually features no real estate exposure. That is below-average exposure to those sectors among high dividend funds. Still, this Vanguard mutual fund yields 3.42%, more than what investors get on the S&P 500 or 10-year Treasuries. The top 10 holdings in VHDYX combine for 27% of the fund's weight, and some of those stocks have some of the longest dividend increase streaks in Corporate America. After slumping last year, VHDYX is up 4.53% this year. Todd Shriber does not own any of the aforementioned securities. ### More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Recession-Proof Stocks to Buy ... According to Goldman Sachs * 10 Triple-A Stocks to Buy in February * 7 Smart Money Opinions on Where Stocks Are Going Next Compare Brokers The post 5 High-Yield Vanguard Mutual Funds appeared first on InvestorPlace.