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Is T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund (PRASX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

If you’ve been stuck searching for Pacific Rim – Equity funds, consider T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund (PRASX) as a possibility. PRASX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

PRASX is classified in the Pacific Rim – Equity segment by Zacks, which is an area full of possibilities. Pacific Rim – Equity mutual funds see big investment opportunities in the dominant export-focused markets of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea. These funds also invest less than 10% of their assets in Japanese firms, as Japan mutual funds are very popular.

History of Fund/Manager

T. Rowe Price is based in Baltimore, MD, and is the manager of PRASX. T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund made its debut in September of 1990, and since then, PRASX has accumulated about $2.23 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund is currently managed by Anh Lu who has been in charge of the fund since June of 2014.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 12.64%, and is in the top third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 9.58%, 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 PRASX over the past three years is 18.29% compared to the category average of 16.36%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund’s standard deviation is 16.54% compared to the category average of 14.78%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

With a 5-year beta of 0.84, the fund is likely to be less volatile than the market average. 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. With a positive alpha of 0.86, 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, PRASX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.92% compared to the category average of 1.44%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, PRASX is actually cheaper than its peers.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $2,500, and each subsequent investment should be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund ( PRASX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund ( PRASX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

Don’t stop here for your research on Pacific Rim – Equity 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 PRASX 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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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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