First Eagle U.S. Value Fund

Scorecard
3 / 5 Stars
Lipper
2 1 5 3 2
Zacks Investment Research
4 (Sell)
Standard & Poor's
3 / 5 Stars
TheStreet.com
B- (Buy)

U.S. News evaluated 487 Large Blend Funds. Our list highlights the top-rated funds for long-term investors based on the ratings of leading fund industry researchers.

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Note: Profile written for different share class.

Performance

The fund has returned 14.79 percent over the past year, 9.96 percent over the past three years, and 16.60 percent over the past five years.

Trailing Returns Updated 02.28.2014
Year to date 1.2%
1 Year 14.8%
3 Years (Annualized) 10.0%
5 Years (Annualized) 16.6%
10 Years (Annualized) 8.4%

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Summary

First Eagle U.S. Value features a conservative portfolio that tends to hold up well during weak markets.

As of March 05, 2014, the fund has assets totaling almost $3.21 billion invested in 84 different holdings. Its portfolio consists primarily of shares of large and mid-sized companies. 

This fund is quite conservative. As of the end of January, for instance, the fund had about a fifth of its portfolio tucked away in cash. While a cash position of that size was understandable during the uncertainty that plagued the market for much of the last year, it also prevented the fund from capitalizing on the rally that started late last year. As a result, the fund's 12 percent return in 2010 landed it in the bottom third of Morningstar's large-blend category. Large-blend is a relatively new designation for this fund, which spent much of its existence in the mid-cap value category. The fund still has around 35 percent of its portfolio in mid-cap names, and its average market cap is roughly a quarter the size of that of the S&P 500. Apart from the fund's cash position, its low turnover ratio, which currently sits at 12 percent, also points to a cautious, long-term approach to investing. The fund's sizeable stake in gold is an additional sign that the fundguards against jittery equity markets. 

Since its 2001 launch, this fund has had its best years, on a relative basis, during sour markets. In 2002 and 2008, it finished in the top 10 percent of its Morningstar category by virtue of playing solid defense. On the other hand, the fund has often had difficulty participating in bull markets. In 2009, for example, the fund was unable to keep pace with either the broader market or the average for Morningstar's large-blend category. This is not surprising given the fund's conservative strategy. The fund has returned 14.79 percent over the past year,  9.96 percent over the past three years, and 16.60 percent over the past five years.

Investment Strategy

According to the fund's prospectus: "The investment philosophy and strategy of the U.S. Value Fund can be broadly characterized as a 'value' approach, as it seeks a 'margin of safety' in each investment purchase with the goal being to avoid permanent impairment of capital (as opposed to temporary losses in share value relating to shifting investor sentiment or other normal share price volatility). In particular, a discount to 'intrinsic value' is sought even for the best of businesses, with a deeper discount demanded for companies that we view as under business model, balance sheet, management or other stresses. 'Intrinsic value' is based on our judgment of what a prudent and rational business buyer would pay in cash for all of the company in normal markets." 

Role in Portfolio

Morningstar calls this fund a "supporting player."

Management

A team of four managers runs the fund.

Fees

First Eagle U.S. Value Fund has an expense ratio of 0.91 percent. 

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Risk

Like all stock funds, this one comes with some risks.

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