Your 2017 Guide to the American Funds Europacific Growth Fund

Seven of the ten countries with the lowest P/E ratios in the world today are located in Europe. The other three are all located in Asia -- one of the hottest growth areas on the planet. (And not one of these countries is named "America".) So if you're looking to invest in where bargains abound, Europe and Asia are where they'll be found.

And American Funds' Europacific Growth Fund (NASDAQMUTFUND: AEPGX) just might be what you are looking for.

Looking to invest on the right side of this map? There's a fund for that. Image source: Getty Images.

What is American Funds Europacific Growth Fund?

Run by American Funds (a subsidiary of privately held investment manager The Capital Group Companies, Inc.), the Europacific Growth Fund invests its shareholders' money pretty much as you'd expect it to: In Europe and the Pacific region. 38.2% of the fund's assets are allocated to European stocks, and 34.9% in Asia and the Pacific Basin. That's nearly three out of four dollars invested right where you'd expect them to be.

A bit less than 20% of the fund's assets are spread around to countries farther afield, with a further 10% or so kept in cash for opportunistic investing.

What assets does the Europacific Growth Fund own?

American Funds' Europacific Growth Fund manages some $142 billion in assets, and focuses its investments in brand-name, blue-chip companies. More than 95% of the stocks the fund owns are large caps. At the other end of the scale, only 0.2% of the fund's assets are in small caps. The Europacific Growth Fund's dividend yield is 1.1%.

Its top European holdings include stocks such as British American Tobacco and Airbus. Top Asian holdings include Samsung and Alibaba.

What else do you need to know?

Assuming these are the kinds of European and Asian-Pacific companies you want to own, American Funds Europacific Growth Fund might be the right fund for you. But here are a few other things you might want to know about this fund before buying in.

For one thing, this fund offers an easy entree to international investing, with a minimum required investment of only $250.

For another, the fund's expense ratio of 0.85% is quite a bit cheaper than the average 1.25% expense ratio charged by large-cap stock funds. It's quite a bit cheaper than the 1.5% average cost of a mutual fund specializing in foreign stocks -- where, presumably, investors are often asked to pay a bit more for expertise in a subject, and on companies, they're not physically able to become familiar with on their own.

That said, in buying into the American Funds Europacific Growth Fund, you are paying something of a premium for expert stock-picking -- and about six times as much as it would cost you to invest in a low-cost S&P 500 index fund.

As far as the success of the fund's experts, American Funds Europacific Growth Fund has been doing pretty well of late, producing 18.2% growth in its value over the past year -- about par for the course for international funds. Longer-term, the fund has produced a 10-year return of only 3.2%, which is actually better than average for international stocks.

On balance, I'd say the American Funds Europacific Growth Fund offers investors a pretty decent way to expand into international investing, and add a bit of diversification to a U.S.-centric portfolio.

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