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Is T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund (PRSCX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Zacks.com logo Zacks.com 9/7/2021

Any investors hoping to find a Sector - Tech fund could think about starting with T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund (PRSCX). PRSCX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Sector - Tech funds is an area filled with options, and PRSCX is one of them. Sector - Tech mutual funds allow investors to own a stake in a notoriously volatile sector with a much more diversified approach. Tech companies can be in any number of industries such as semiconductors, software, internet, networking just to name a few.

History of Fund/Manager

PRSCX is a part of the T. Rowe Price family of funds, a company based out of Baltimore, MD. T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund made its debut in September of 1987, and since then, PRSCX has accumulated about $8.37 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund's current manager, Kennard W. Allen, has been in charge of the fund since January of 2009.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 25.42%, and it sits in the top 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 24.81%, 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 17.87%, the standard deviation of PRSCX over the past three years is 22.48%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 18.31% compared to the category average of 14.83%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

With a 5-year beta of 1.06, the fund is likely to be more volatile than the market average. 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. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a positive alpha of 6.44. This means that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

Costs 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, PRSCX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.77% compared to the category average of 1.35%. PRSCX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $2,500; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund ( PRSCX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Sector - Tech, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information. And don't forget, Zacks has all of your needs covered on the equity side too! Make sure to check out Zacks.com for more information on our screening capabilities, Rank, and all our articles as well.

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