A mutual fund's net asset value (NAV) is the market value of its investments and cash reserves. It's also referred to as the fund's share price or market capitalization. We will look at how to calculate the net asset value of mutual funds, the significance and impact of this metric, and what affects it positively or negatively. Investors use a fund's NAV to indicate its fair value. Knowing the net asset value of mutual funds helps you understand how much you're paying for your shares in a fund and whether it's a good time to buy or sell shares. This article explains net asset value, how to calculate net asset value, its impact on performance, and best practices for investing in mutual funds with low NAV.
NAV stands for net asset value, the price per unit at which the fund's holdings are valued. It's calculated by adding the total value of the fund's investments (including cash and other liquid assets) and subtracting any liabilities. Fund NAV is an important metric to understand and closely watch as it is indicative of fund health, liquidity, and pricing. You can also think of it as the fund's price per share (PS). NAV is calculated as the total value of the fund's assets divided by the number of shares outstanding. The NAV is affected by the extent and type of the fund's holdings and liabilities.
The calculation of NAV is straightforward. You have to add cash, investment securities, and other assets and take into account fund liabilities. The following formula can be used: NAV = Assets – Liabilities. As you can see, the NAV depends on the fund's assets and liabilities, driven by demand, supply, and investor expectations.
The NAV shows the fair price of the fund. It is the price at which you can buy or sell your shares. It is important to closely track NAV to understand the impact of fund flows, investment activities, and investor sentiment on the price. Tracking the NAV can help you decide whether you should buy or sell the fund. If the NAV is rising (i.e., the price of the fund is increasing), it means demand for the fund is increasing. Investors are buying more shares, which is increasing the fund's NAV. This could be a good time to add to your positions. If the NAV is falling (i.e., the price of the fund is decreasing), it means there is less interest in the fund. Investors are selling their shares, which is decreasing the NAV. This could be a good time to sell your positions.
The NAV is affected by the performance of the fund's assets and liabilities. Fund performance is driven by market sentiment and investor expectations. The performance of the fund's assets will affect the NAV positively or negatively. If the fund's assets perform well, the NAV will increase. If the assets underperform, the NAV will decrease. NAV is calculated by adding the value of the fund's assets and subtracting any liabilities. The performance of the liabilities will affect the NAV positively or negatively. If the liabilities are decreasing, the NAV will increase. If the liabilities are increasing, the NAV will decrease. Liabilities will change when the fund manager changes the portfolio to maintain the level of risk in the fund.
The performance of the fund's assets will have a positive impact on the NAV. The following factors can increase the value of the fund's assets and, in turn, increase the NAV.
- Smart investment decisions - If the fund's portfolio manager makes smart investment decisions and selects the right mix of assets, the NAV will increase as the value of the assets increases.
- Emerging market - If the fund's assets are invested in emerging markets, the NAV will increase as emerging markets are expected to grow at a faster pace than developed markets.
- Strategic asset allocation - If the fund's assets are well-diversified across asset classes and the fund's portfolio manager is following the fund's strategic asset allocation (for example, 60% in equities and 40% in fixed income), the NAV will increase as the assets will perform better than expected.
- Fund holdings - If the fund's portfolio manager selects the right mix of assets, the NAV will increase as the value of the assets increases.
The performance of the fund's liabilities will have a negative impact on the NAV. The following factors can decrease the NAV value as the liabilities will increase.
- Liquidity - If the fund's liabilities are short-term, the fund manager will have to sell assets to meet the liabilities, and the NAV will decrease as the value of the assets decreases.
- Redemptions - If the fund's assets decrease faster than the liabilities, the NAV will decrease as the fund's total value decreases.
- Increasing portfolio risk - If the fund's portfolio manager changes the asset mix to increase the fund's risk-reward ratio, the NAV will decrease as the value of the assets decreases, and the liabilities will increase.
Many investors in the financial markets see this value as equivalent to the equity stock's cost. But the calculation is quite different from each other. This is because only a firm's liquid assets are included in determining the price of equity stock. But to find out the value of mutual funds, the valuation of both non-liquid and liquid assets is taken into consideration. So, the total equity value shows a firm's working capital. But the NAV gives the complete monetary worth of a firm. So, this value is required to make the right decision regarding the type of mutual funds in which the investor wants to invest their money. Many investors in the financial markets also think that the funds with a lower NAV are cheaper than the others and so prove to be better investments. But the calculation of the value has no relation to the performance of the fund. Only because the fund has a lower net value does not mean it will be a better investment. The NAV only shows how the underlying assets have performed in previous years.
Although the net asset value of mutual funds is a good indicator of a fund's value, relying on it as a sole metric is a mistake. The NAV is driven by market demand and supply and will fluctuate with time. It's important to remain invested in a fund but also be aware of the risks involved. If you're investing in mutual funds, make sure you understand the NAV and the impact it has on the fund's price.