Is Vanguard Wellington Admiral (VWENX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research
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If you have been looking for Allocation Balanced funds, a place to start could be Vanguard Wellington Admiral (VWENX). VWENX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

VWENX is one of many Zacks' Allocation Balanced mutual funds to pick from. Allocation Balanced funds seek to invest in 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. Investors utilize Allocation Balanced funds as a way to get a good start with diversified mutual funds, as well as for core holdings in a portfolio of funds.

History of Fund/Manager

Vanguard Group is based in Malvern, PA, and is the manager of VWENX. Vanguard Wellington Admiral debuted in May of 2001. Since then, VWENX has accumulated assets of about $80.96 billion, according to the most recently available information. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 6.28%, and it sits 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 7.22%, 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 VWENX over the past three years is 7.03% compared to the category average of 8.13%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 7.09% compared to the category average of 8.16%. 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. VWENX lost 32.46% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 3.94%. This means that the fund could possibly be a better choice than its peers during a down market environment.

Nevertheless, with a 5-year beta of 0.63, 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. VWENX has generated a positive alpha over the past five years of 0.63, 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, VWENX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.17% compared to the category average of 0.88%. So, VWENX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $50,000, and each subsequent investment should be at least $1.

Bottom Line

Overall, Vanguard Wellington Admiral ( VWENX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees compared to its peers.

Your research on the Allocation Balanced segment doesn't have to stop here. You can check out all the great mutual fund tools we have to offer by going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds to see the additional features we offer 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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