Advertisement
investing

MFS Utilities: Not Your Average Utility Fund

This fund’s veteran manager also invests in cable stocks and energy partnerships.

Maura Shaughnessy has seen plenty of ups and downs during her quarter-century tenure at the helm of MFS Utilities (symbol MMUFX). Now, after a few years of so-so results, her fund is again among the leaders in its group.

Shaughnessy invests mostly in bargain-priced electricity, natural gas and water utilities, holding a mix of high-yielding stocks and stocks that pay less but, she expects, will deliver robust share-price gains. She also holds firms that tend to be underrepresented in utilities funds. MFS has nearly 20% of its assets in energy stocks—mostly master limited partnerships—and 15% in cable-TV operators, such as Comcast, and telecommunications companies.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Shaughnessy is far more willing than her rivals to go abroad. At last word, her fund had 30% of its assets in foreign stocks, compared with 11% for the average utility fund. That has hurt MFS’s performance because U.S. stocks have done far better than foreign issues in recent years. But as a result, Shaughnessy says, she has never seen foreign utilities so cheap relative to their U.S. counterparts.

MFS Utilities has rewarded patient investors. It has been the top-performing utilities fund over the past 25 years, with a 10.9% annualized return. The fund’s Class A shares, which yield 2.8%, normally levy a 5.75% sales charge, but you can buy them without a load at several online brokers.

Takeaway
K5I-FUNDTRENDS RANKINGS.indd

Thinkstock

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

11 Dividend-Paying Stocks You Should Think Twice About
dividend stocks

11 Dividend-Paying Stocks You Should Think Twice About

Dividend-paying stocks often can be a store of safety, but 2020 has been difficult on income equities. These 11 picks look like shaky plays despite th…
September 21, 2020
How To Buy a Roth IRA When You Make Too Much To Qualify For One
Roth IRAs

How To Buy a Roth IRA When You Make Too Much To Qualify For One

With their tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals, Roth IRAs are a great deal — if you qualify. If you don’t, well, there’s still a way to get into …
September 23, 2020
High-Tech Aids for Aging in Place
Caregiving

High-Tech Aids for Aging in Place

Apple Watch and other technology provides fast feedback, comfort for older users, and a powerful assist for caregivers.
September 23, 2020

Recommended

10 of the Best Target-Date Fund Families
mutual funds

10 of the Best Target-Date Fund Families

The best target-date funds are a 'set it and forget it' approach to your retirement, but which fund family should you trust your money?
September 17, 2020
Best Bond Funds for Every Need
Investing for Income

Best Bond Funds for Every Need

In a changing market, it’s important to remember why we hold bonds in the first place.
September 15, 2020
How to Build a Bond Portfolio
Becoming an Investor

How to Build a Bond Portfolio

No single bond (or even bond fund) can do it all. We'll help you match your goals with appropriate fixed-income picks.
August 27, 2020
Time to Buy Japanese Shares?
Foreign Stocks & Emerging Markets

Time to Buy Japanese Shares?

In a weak global economy, T. Rowe Price Japan finds firms with healthy balance sheets.
August 27, 2020