Is BlackRock Equity Dividend R (MRDVX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you’ve been stuck searching for Large Cap Value funds, consider BlackRock Equity Dividend R (MRDVX) as a possibility. MRDVX possesses a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.ObjectiveLarge Cap Value mutual funds invest in stocks with a market capitalization of $10 billion or more, but whose share prices do not reflect their intrinsic value; this value investing strategy often leads to low P/E ratios and high dividend yields, though growth levels are often curtailed. The high-growth opportunity of these funds are slowed even further, as large-cap securities are generally in stable industries with low to moderate growth prospects. Therefore, Large Cap Value funds are usually more appealing to investors who are interested in a stable income stream.History of Fund/ManagerBlackRock is based in New York, NY, and is the manager of MRDVX. BlackRock Equity Dividend R debuted in January of 2003. Since then, MRDVX has accumulated assets of about $499.95 million, according to the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by Tony DeSpirito who has been in charge of the fund since August of 2014.PerformanceOf course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 12.02%, and it sits in the middle 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 10.26%, 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. Over the past three years, MRDVX’s standard deviation comes in at 19.07%, compared to the category average of 15.87%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund’s standard deviation is 15.67% compared to the category average of 13.08%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.Risk FactorsInvestors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.97, so it is likely going to be as volatile as the market at large. Alpha is an additional metric to take into consideration, since it represents a portfolio’s performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which in this case, is the S&P 500. The fund has produced a negative alpha over the past 5 years of -4.59, which shows that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.HoldingsExploring the equity holdings of a mutual fund is also a valuable exercise. This can show us how the manager is applying their stated methodology, as well as if there are any inherent biases in their approach. For this particular fund, the focus is primarily on equities that are traded in the United States.As of the last filing date, the mutual fund has 86.9% of its assets in stocks, with an average market capitalization of $140.46 billion. The fund has the heaviest exposure to the following market sectors: Finance Technology Turnover is about 45%, so those in charge of the fund make fewer trades than comparable funds.ExpensesCosts are increasingly important for mutual fund investing, and particularly as competition heats up in this market. And all things being equal, a lower cost product will outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, so taking a closer look at these metrics is key for investors. In terms of fees, MRDVX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.27% compared to the category average of 1%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, MRDVX is actually more expensive than its peers.Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $100 and that each subsequent investment has no minimum amount.Bottom LineOverall, BlackRock Equity Dividend R ( MRDVX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, this fund looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.This could just be the start of your research on MRDVXin the Large Cap Value category. Consider going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information about this fund, and all the others that we rank as well for additional information. 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