Is MassMutual Select Mid Cap Growth I (MEFZX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Having trouble finding a Mid Cap Growth fund? MassMutual Select Mid Cap Growth I (MEFZX) is a potential starting point. MEFZX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

MEFZX is part of the Mid Cap Growth section, a segment that boasts a wide array of possible selections. While Mid Cap Growth mutual funds choose companies with a stock market valuation between $2 billion and $10 billion, stocks in these funds are also expected to show broad considerable growth opportunities for investors compared to their peers. To be considered a growth stock, companies must consistently report impressive sales and/or earnings growth.

History of Fund/Manager

MassMutual is based in Springfield, MA, and is the manager of MEFZX. The MassMutual Select Mid Cap Growth I made its debut in November of 2010 and MEFZX has managed to accumulate roughly $6.87 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. A team of investment professionals is the fund’s current manager.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 18.4%, and it sits in the bottom third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 18.38%, which places it in the middle 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. Compared to the category average of 16.11%, the standard deviation of MEFZX over the past three years is 21.01%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 16.88% compared to the category average of 13.26%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.06, which means it is hypothetically more volatile than the market at large. Another factor to consider is alpha, as it reflects a portfolio’s performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark-in this case, the S&P 500. MEFZX has generated a negative alpha over the past five years of -0.41, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick 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, MEFZX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.70% compared to the category average of 1.17%. From a cost perspective, MEFZX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $0; each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.

Bottom Line

Overall, MassMutual Select Mid Cap Growth I ( MEFZX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively weak performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a great potential choice for investors right now.

Your research on the Mid Cap Growth 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. For analysis of the rest of your portfolio, make sure to visit Zacks.com for our full suite of tools which will help you investigate all of your stocks and funds in one place.

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