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Is PDINX a Strong Bond Fund Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research
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If you have been looking for Diversified Bonds fund category, a potential starting could be Putnam Diversified Income A (PDINX). PDINX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Diversified Bonds funds is an area filled with options, such as PDINX. Investors looking for exposure to a variety of fixed income types that stretch across issuers, maturities, and credit levels will find a good fit with Diversified Bonds funds. Typically, these funds have a solid amount of exposure to government debt, as well as modest holdings in the corporate bond market.

History of Fund/Manager

Putnam Funds is responsible for PDINX, and the company is based out of Canton, MA. Putnam Diversified Income A debuted in October of 1988. Since then, PDINX has accumulated assets of about $1.29 billion, according to the most recently available information. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 3.14%, 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 4.99%, which places it in the top 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 7.91%, the standard deviation of PDINX over the past three years is 4.76%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 4.77% compared to the category average of 7.73%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Bond Duration

Modified duration is a measure of a given bond's interest rate sensitivity, and is a metric that's a good way to judge how fixed income securities will respond in a shifting rate environment.

For investors who think interest rates will rise, this is an important factor to consider. PDINX has a modified duration of 2.79, which suggests that the fund will decline 2.79% for every hundred-basis-point increase in interest rates.

Income

It is important to consider the fund's average coupon because income is often a big reason for purchasing a fixed income security. This metric calculates the fund's average payout in a given year. For example, this fund's average coupon of 4.99% means that a $10,000 investment should result in a yearly payout of $499.

A higher coupon is good for those seeking a strong level of current income, but it could also pose a reinvestment risk if rates are lower in the future when compared to the initial purchase date of the bond.

Income is only one part of the bond picture, investors also need to consider risk relative to broad benchmarks. With a beta of -0.55, this fund is less volatile than a broad market index of fixed income securities. Taking this into account, PDINX has a positive alpha of 4.02, which measures performance on a risk-adjusted basis.

Ratings

Investors should also consider a bond's rating, which is a grade ( 'AAA' to 'D' ) given to a bond that indicates its credit quality. With this letter scale in mind, PDINX has 33.09% in high quality bonds rated at least 'AA' or higher, while its junk bond component-bonds rated 'BB' or below-is at 49.06%. This means that the fund has an average quality of BBB, and focuses on medium quality securities.

Expenses

As competition heats up in the mutual fund market, costs become increasingly important. Compared to its otherwise identical counterpart, a low-cost product will be an outperformer, all other things being equal. Thus, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is vital for investors. In terms of fees, PDINX is a load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.98% compared to the category average of 0.91%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, PDINX is actually more expensive than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $500, investors should also note that there is no minimum for each subsequent investment.

Bottom Line

Overall, Putnam Diversified Income A ( PDINX ) has a neutral Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and higher fees, this fund looks like a somewhat average choice for investors right now.

Don't stop here for your research on Diversified Bonds funds. We also have plenty more on our site in order to help you find the best possible fund for your portfolio. Make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for more information about the world of funds, and feel free to compare PDINX to its peers as well 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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