Blue chip stocks and mutual funds have one thing in common – they both provide investors with a unique opportunity to improve their financial status by investing in the markets. But that doesn’t mean they’re the same investment instrument. So, how are these investments different, and how do you determine which is the better option for your investment goals?
Blue chip stocks are shares of reputable, established, and financially solid companies that provide investors with a regular income. Contrarily, mutual funds are professionally-managed pooled investments that give members access to an array of asset classes. The better choice depends on your goals.
In this article, you’ll find detailed information on blue chip stocks and mutual funds that will help you determine which is the better investment vehicle for you. Keep reading to discover how the two investments differ, their benefits, upsides, and downsides and how to choose the better alternative for your individual needs.
What Are Blue Chip Stocks?
Blue chip stocks are shares of large, established, highly reputable, and well-recognized companies with a history of sound performance spanning many years. These high-quality stocks are known to withstand tough market conditions and deliver impressive returns during favorable market conditions.
Blue chip stocks are typically market leaders in their industries, and their premium pricing reflects this. They’re crucial components in reputable indexes like the Nasdaq 100, Dow Jones, UK’s FTSE, and Nikkei in Japan.
Other notable features that can help you identify blue chip companies or stocks are:
- Consistent dividend payments
- High market capitalization
- Strong balance sheet
- Excellent management team
- Stable debt-to-equity ratio
- Average return on equity (RoE)
The Upsides and Downsides of Investing in Blue Chip Stocks
Here are some of the pros and cons of investing in blue chips:
- They’re reliable.
- They provide a regular income.
- The issuing companies are financially stable.
- They’re not volatile – have steady growth with no dramatic price swings.
- They boast a long track record of outstanding performance.
- They’re expensive.
- They offer modest returns.
- Unsuitable for small investors
Who Should Invest in Blue Chip Stocks?
Blue chip stocks are a good option for investors looking for sustained stable earnings and the promise of steady growth in value. Despite their steep prices, these stocks are popular due to their consistent returns, making them good for people with a low risk appetite looking for safe investments.
They’re also a good option for individuals who are:
- Keen to protect their investment portfolios against inflation.
- Interested in an investment they can live off during retirement.
- Not limited in terms of investment capital.
How To Invest in Blue Chip Stocks?
To invest in blue chips, you should first research diligently on the best-performing companies first, then narrow down on a few options. Evaluate their annual reports, historical performance, dividend payment trends and ensure you understand their business.
Compare the high-quality stocks and decide which ones to go for depending on your analysis and investment goals. It’s only then that you should buy your stocks through a broker.
What Are Mutual Funds?
Mutual funds are investment pools that buy securities, such as stocks and bonds, for member investors. They are managed by professional fund managers and their objective is to create a diversified portfolio that generates returns.
Investors buy shares in the resulting portfolio, with each share representing partial ownership in the mutual fund and its income. Thus, you don’t own shares of the individual securities constituting the fund but rather the shares of the fund owning them.
A mutual fund is managed either actively or passively.
- Actively managed funds charge higher fees than passively managed funds since their fund manager decides how best to invest their money. They usually try to outperform a benchmark index such as the S&P 500.
- Passively managed funds have no professional running them. However, they contain investments that mirror a particular market index and strive to match its performance.
Categories of Mutual Funds
There are 4 primary types of mutual funds: equity, money-market, fixed-income and balanced funds. These are further broken down into categories:
- Open-end funds. Bought and sold based on demand, these funds offer unlimited shares. The price per share is calculated daily at the close of trading.
- Closed-end funds. These are issued in an IPO and feature a set number of shares that are traded on exchanges. Their prices are often volatile, rising and falling depending on supply and demand.
- Load funds. These funds attract a sales charge whenever you sell them or make a purchase. Also, the load can impact your returns.
- No-load funds. These funds don’t charge a sales fee. However, they might charge other fees to cover operating expenses.
The Upsides and Downsides of Investing in a Mutual Fund
Investing in a mutual fund generates several benefits and drawbacks:
- Affordability: You can start investing with a small amount of capital.
- Income: They pay dividends and also distribute capital gains.
- High liquidity: You can sell your shares at any time.
- Reliability and transparency: They disclose portfolio details regularly.
- Diversification: You get access to a more diversified portfolio than you could build on your own.
- Professional management: The funds are run by experienced fund managers who are knowledgeable about the stock market
- Someone other than yourself has control over which securities your money gets invested in.
- You might end up paying a load (sales charge) or other fees when purchasing mutual funds.
- Mutual funds charge management fees that can erode your portfolio’s value.
Who Should Invest in a Mutual Fund?
Mutual funds are a good option for investors who have minimal knowledge of how the stock market works. They can turn their investment decisions over to the fund manager and let them do much of the work. They’re also great for people looking for a professional to help them choose and monitor their investments.
A mutual fund can also be an excellent investment avenue for you if you’re:
- Looking to invest in a diverse selection of securities at a relatively affordable cost.
- Looking for a liquid investment – you can sell your mutual fund shares at any time.
How To Invest in Mutual Funds?
To invest in a mutual fund, you can either buy shares directly from a mutual fund company or go through a broker. Once you open a brokerage account, you can also buy and sell funds on your own by trading online.
The advantage of going through an online broker is that they offer a more comprehensive selection of funds across multiple companies, while a mutual fund company offers a limited choice.
Once you purchase your shares, the best strategy is to buy and hold. This is because frequent buying and selling might not be cost-effective owing to the related fees.
Blue Chip Stocks vs. Mutual Funds: Where Should You Invest?
The primary difference between investing in blue chips vs. mutual funds is that, with blue chips, you invest in individual stocks, whereas mutual funds comprise investments in multiple companies. Understanding the key differences between the two can help you make a more informed decision on which investment suits you better.
With this in mind, let us have a further look at the differences between blue chip stocks and mutual funds:
|Blue Chip Stocks||Mutual Stocks|
|Risks||Stable, dependable, not volatile, and known to endure economic downturns.||Allow for diversification, hence less risky than individual stocks.|
|Fees||You pay trading fees when buying and selling shares and capital gains taxes on price appreciation.||You pay management fees and might also need to pay capital gains taxes.|
|Most suitable for||Investors seeking consistent dividend income as well as reliability and stability.||Investors looking to have someone else manage their investment portfolio.|
Both mutual funds and blue chip stocks are good avenues for long-term investment. Ultimately, choosing which to invest in depends on your personal preference, investment strategies, and risk tolerance.
Blue chip stocks and mutual funds are both viable investments for an investor with a long-term
perspective. While investing in individual stocks carries an inherent element of risk, a mutual fund can help you spread this risk across many companies, industries, or completely different securities.
To choose the better investment, carefully evaluate the risks and benefits of each option, then go with the choice that best aligns with your investment goals.