Once again, growth stocks are the place to be this year, opening plenty of doors for investors evaluating growth funds. Year-to-date, the Russell 1000 Growth Index is higher by 8.6% while its value counterpart is down 15.2%.
This isn’t a new theme. Over the course of the bull market that died in March at the hands of the novel coronavirus, growth funds frequently beat out their value rivals by wide margins. Narrowing the time frame to the past three years, the Russell 1000 Growth Index is up 63.3% while its value rival is up a paltry 5.5%.
Here some growth funds to consider:
- Fidelity Growth Company Fund (MUTF:FDGRX)
- T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth Fund (MUTF:TRBCX)
- Vanguard Small-Cap Growth Index Fund (MUTF:VSGAX)
- Vanguard U.S. Growth Fund (MUTF:VWUSX)
- T. Rowe Price Mid-Cap Growth Fund (MUTF:RPMGX)
- Fidelity OTC Fund (MUTF:FOCPX)
- Baron Partners Retail Fund (MUTF:BPTRX)
Past performance doesn’t guarantee future returns, but when examining the typical composition of growth funds — large weights to technology, communication services and consumer discretionary stocks — it’s easy to see why investors prefer these funds and long-term tailwinds remain in place.
Mutual Funds for Growth Stocks: Fidelity Growth Company Fund (FDGRX)
Expense ratio: 0.83% per year, or $83 on a $10,000 investment
Consider the Fidelity Growth Company Fund a strong addition to your personal growth fund watchlist, as this Fidelity product is currently closed to new investors. This a massive mutual fund with almost $47 billion in assets and it’s easy to understand why investors are so fond of it. Over the past decade, FDGRX has trounced both the Russell 3000 Growth Index and the average large-cap growth fund.
FDGRX had 420 holdings at the end of the first quarter, but its top 10 components represented 44.52% of the lineup, according to issuer data. That group includes standard large- and mega-cap growth fare such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), among others.
When FDGRX reopens to new investors, they’ll be treated to the same benefits as they are with other Fidelity funds, including no minimum investment and no commission costs.
T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth Fund (TRCBX)
Expense ratio: 0.69% per year
With $75.6 billion in assets under management, the T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth Fund is a veritable behemoth. That heft is likely attributable to an impressive long-term track record, including an overall Morningstar rating of five stars and the same rating for the fund’s 10-year performance. That overall mark is impressive because there Morningstar classifies 1,244 funds in the large growth camp.
TRCBX’s average annualized return for the decade ended March 31 is 13.86%, putting it more than 300 basis points ahead of its benchmark while beating the comparable value fund by a margin of better than 4-to-1.
TRCBX has a smaller lineup than the aforementioned Fidelity product. The T. Rowe Price fund has 125 components with the top 10 commanding nearly half the funds weight. Alone, Amazon accounts for 10.77%.
Like so many growth funds, TRCBX is heavily allocated to technology, consumer cyclical and communication services stocks, as those groups combine for over three-quarters of the fund’s weight.
Vanguard Small-Cap Growth Index Fund Admiral Shares (VSGAX)
Expense ratio: 0.07% per year
As its name says, the Vanguard Small-Cap Growth Index Fund Admiral Shares is an index fund, not an actively managed as the are the first two funds on this list. As such, VSGAX carries the low fees Vanguard investors are accustomed to, though there is a minimum investment of $3,000. VSGAX also offers a straight forward approach that gets to the heart of this factor combination.
“Stocks in the bottom 10% of the capitalization of the U.S. equity market are defined as small cap,” according to Morningstar. “Growth is defined based on fast growth (high growth rates for earnings, sales, book value, and cash flow) and high valuations (high price ratios and low dividend yields).”
A couple of things to note with VSGAX. First, the median market value of its 576 holdings is $5.8 billion, well into mid-cap territory. Second, small-cap growth funds often feature sector concentration on par with their large-cap equivalents.
With the smaller stock funds in this category, there are often large weights to healthcare and technology names and that’s true of VSGAX as the fund devotes 47.20% of its roster to those sectors.
Vanguard U.S. Growth Fund (VWUSX)
Expense ratio: 0.39% per year
The Vanguard U.S. Growth Fund is a solid idea for conservative investors looking to access growth stocks, as the fund focuses on large, established companies. Like the small-cap VSGAX, VWUSX carries a $3,000 minimum investment, but its annual fee is favorable relative to the broader universe of actively managed large-cap growth funds.
VWUSX holds 262 stocks, including plenty of names that drive funds throughout this category, such as Amazon, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA). Looked at another way, VWUSX is suitable for investors looking to reduce as well as younger investors looking to tap beloved growth stocks.
Like its peers, VWUSX is heavily allocated to technology, consumer cyclical and communication services stocks. Alone, tech is 42.30% of this Vanguard fund while the other two groups combine for over 29%.
T. Rowe Price Mid-Cap Growth Fund (RPMGX)
Expense ratio: 0.74% per year
Mid-cap growth makes for a potent combination. As with their small-cap equivalents, many of the stocks in this category aren’t being widely followed by Wall Street or Main Street, so this is a category ripe for the buying. But it’s also a tricky segment in which to stock pick, meaning having active management on your side can be advantageous.
RPMGX has a four-star rating from Morningstar and if it’s manager stability you’re after with active funds, Brian Berghuis has been with this growth fund for 27 years. Over the past decade, RPGMX’s average annualized return is 11.17%, an advantage of almost 30 basis points over the benchmark and a track record that absolutely obliterates the average mid-cap value fund, which returned just 0.33% over the same period.
As of May 31, healthcare stocks account for 24.24% of RPMGX, but the fund is underweight tech by 15.4% compared to the Russell MidCap Growth Index.
Fidelity OTC Fund (FOCPX)
Source: Who is Danny / Shutterstock.com
Expense ratio: 0.89% per year
Don’t be deceived by the name of this fund. The Fidelity OTC Fund isn’t littered with low-priced or speculative stocks trading over-the-counter. Rather, FOCPX is home to many of the familiar growth names found in the competing strategies mentioned here, but there’s a difference: the Fidelity fund tries to beat the Nasdaq-100 Index, which is no easy task. That also means only Nasdaq-listed issues are part of the FOCPX roster.
Chris Lin recently became the manager of FOCPX and he’s doing some things differently than his predecessor, including reducing micor-cap exposure, but he’s still emphasizing growth.
“Lin’s attention to valuation isn’t a sign of stinginess; indeed, the portfolio’s recent aggregate price/forward-earnings multiple of 24.3 well exceeded the Nasdaq Composite Index’s ratio of 21.1,” according to Morningstar. “He’s so far prioritized fast growth, as implied by the average holding’s benchmark-beating expected earnings-growth rate of 12.8%.”
FOCPX is slightly overweight communication services and consumer discretionary names relative to the Nasdaq-100.
Baron Partners Retail Fund (BPTRX)
Expense ratio: 1.96% per year
With that expense ratio, the Baron Partners Retail Fund isn’t for everyone. The facts that this is a highly focused (just 28 holdings) long-short fund also limits the audience, but the fund’s strategy is undoubtedly unique. Additionally, BPTRX is particularly relevant right now because of its 20.4% weight to Tesla, which is among the largest among all funds, whether active or passive.
While BPRTX has a small number of holdings and has “retail” in its name, it’s actually more diverse at the sector level as its lineup is comprised of consumer-facing companies, not just brick-and-mortar retailers. In fact, traditional retailers aren’t pivotal to this fund’s results, despite a 32% weight to consumer discretionary names. Industrial and financial services names combine for 41.50% of BPTRX’s weight.
Over the past nine years, BPTRX beat the Russell MidCap Growth Index five times and is on a three-year winning streak against the benchmark. That’s likely to extend to four thanks to the overweight position in Tesla.
Todd Shriber has been an InvestorPlace contributor since 2014. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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