Is Firsthand Technology Opportunities (TEFQX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

On the lookout for a Mutual Fund Equity Report fund? Starting with Firsthand Technology Opportunities (TEFQX) should not be a possibility at this time. TEFQX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 5 (Strong Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

History of Fund/Manager

TEFQX is a part of the Firsthand family of funds, a company based out of San Jose, CA. The Firsthand Technology Opportunities made its debut in September of 1999 and TEFQX has managed to accumulate roughly $279 million in assets, as of the most recently available information. Kevin M. Landis is the fund’s current manager and has held that role since September of 1999.

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 5.54%, and is in the bottom 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 -7.28%, which places it in the bottom 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. TEFQX’s standard deviation over the past three years is 35.1% compared to the category average of 24.89%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 30.62% compared to the category average of 23.05%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

The fund has a 5-year beta of 1.27, so investors should note that it is hypothetically more volatile than 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. TEFQX has generated a negative alpha over the past five years of -5, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick 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, TEFQX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.83% compared to the category average of 1.30%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, TEFQX is actually more expensive than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $2,000; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, Firsthand Technology Opportunities ( TEFQX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively weak performance, worse downside risk, and higher fees, Firsthand Technology Opportunities ( TEFQX ) looks like a somewhat weak choice for investors right now.

Your research on the Mutual Fund Equity Report 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. Zacks provides a full suite of tools to help you analyze your portfolio – both funds and stocks – in the most efficient way possible.

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