Is Bruce Fund (BRUFX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research

Allocation Balanced fund seekers may want to consider taking a look at Bruce Fund (BRUFX). BRUFX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Zacks' Allocation Balanced funds is an area filled with options, such as BRUFX. These funds like to invest in a variety of asset types, finding a balance between stocks, bonds, cash, and sometimes even precious metals and commodities; they are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation. For investors, Allocation Balanced funds can provide an entry point into diversified mutual funds, and present core holding options for a portfolio of funds.

History of Fund/Manager

Bruce is based in Chicago, IL, and is the manager of BRUFX. Bruce Fund made its debut in October of 1983, and since then, BRUFX has accumulated about $520.58 million in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund's current manager, Robert B. Bruce, has been in charge of the fund since December of 1983.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 7.2%, 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 9.76%, 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. The standard deviation of BRUFX over the past three years is 7.75% compared to the category average of 7.55%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund's standard deviation is 7.39% compared to the category average of 7.7%. This makes the fund less 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. In the most recent bear market, BRUFX lost 39.57% and underperformed its peer group by 3%. These results could imply that the fund is a worse choice than its peers during a sliding market environment.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.46, so investors should note that it is hypothetically less volatile than the market at large. Because alpha represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which is the S&P 500 in this case, one should pay attention to this metric as well. BRUFX has generated a positive alpha over the past five years of 1.2, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

For investors, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is key, since costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing. Competition is heating up in this space, and a lower cost product will likely outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, all things being equal. In terms of fees, BRUFX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.67% compared to the category average of 0.92%. BRUFX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $1,000; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $500.

Bottom Line

Overall, Bruce Fund ( BRUFX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a somewhat average 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 BRUFX to its peers as well for additional information. Want to learn even more? We have a full suite of tools on stocks that you can use to find the best choices for your portfolio too, no matter what kind of investor you are.


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