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Is BlackRock Health Sciences Opportunities A (SHSAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Mutual Fund Equity Report fund seekers may want to consider taking a look at BlackRock Health Sciences Opportunities A (SHSAX). SHSAX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on various forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

History of Fund/Manager

BlackRock is based in New York, NY, and is the manager of SHSAX. Since BlackRock Health Sciences Opportunities A made its debut in October of 2002, SHSAX has garnered more than $3.12 billion in assets. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.


Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 11.19%, and is in the top third among its category peers. If you're interested in shorter time frames, do not dismiss looking at the fund's 3-year annualized total return of 7.91%, 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, SHSAX's standard deviation comes in at 16.38%, compared to the category average of 17.38%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 15.81% compared to the category average of 15.52%. 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 0.71, which means it is hypothetically less 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. SHSAX's 5-year performance has produced a positive alpha of 3.99, which means managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.


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, SHSAX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 1.09% compared to the category average of 1.29%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, SHSAX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $1,000; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $50.

Bottom Line

Overall, BlackRock Health Sciences Opportunities A ( SHSAX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Mutual Fund Equity Report, make sure to go to for additional information. If you want to check out our stock reports as well, make sure to go to to see all of the great tools we have to offer, including our time-tested Zacks Rank.

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