Dodge & Cox Stock Fund Analysis

Updated January, 2022

Great Large Cap Value Stock Mutual Fund


One of my favorite mutual funds is the Dodge & Cox Stock Fund (DODGX).  This isn’t some flashy hey-look-at-me mutual fund.  In fact, this is exactly the kind of fund that people started questioning during the Internet bubble, and that is a good thing.

It did not get caught up in the Internet bubble like many other stock funds.  Its returns of just 5.4% and 20.21% in 1998 and 1999 respectively earned it a lot of scorn when Janus Funds were near 100% returns, but the proof of greatness isn’t riding along with crowd hysteria.  The proof of greatness comes in 2000 and 2001.  When other funds were getting crushed, DODGX was making money!  In 2002, it managed to drop just 10.5%, almost half of what others were losing.

The real proof of greatness is that it did not achieve these results by hiding and investing in “safer” places.  In 2003, when the market turned back up, they were right there.  This is what a great fund looks like.

Dodge & Cox Stock Fund Analysis 1

Limited Time Offer?

For the last several years, the Dodge & Cox Stock Fund has been closed to new investors, so I couldn’t recommend it to my clients.  If they had it available in their 401(k) plans, it was my only large-cap recommendation.  If the clients were savvy enough, we’d load up on one spouse’s plan and the achieve diversification with the other spouse’s plan (or even with IRAs assuming there was enough money in them.)  Now, the fund is back open for new investors.  My advice is to get in there, even if you just send in the minimum.  Last time they closed the fund, they still let existing shareholders add funds.  So, get your investment open now.  Update: It doesn’t look like Dodge & Cox are looking to close the fund, instead choosing an investment committee approach that allows for managing more money.

Evaluate Good Mutual Funds

To evaluate a mutual fund, be careful looking at the 1, 3 and 5-year averages.  There are too many ways to hide flaws in averages. Get into the yearly results and compare those to what you know about what happened in those years, and what you would have expected from your large-cap stock value fund. If they don’t line up, find another fund.

Always look at the individual Annual Returns.  There is no way to hide.  Look at the returns for DODGX.  This is exactly what you want to see in a value-oriented large cap stock fund.  It lags in 1998, 1999 when things were crazy, but it survives beautifully in 2000, 2001, 2002.  Just as important, it does not get caught by surprise in 2003 and posts solid returns.

Newer returns show what you would like to see from a Large-Cap Value fund over the long term. Keep in mind when looking at the table below that the Index there is the Morningstar US Large-Mid index and not the S&P 500.

Dodge & Cox Stock Fund Analysis 2

Morningstar rate Dodge & Cox Stock as a best-in-class option with a Morningstar analyst rating of gold. As of the 09-30-21 Holdings list on the Morningstar one-pager, the fund has plenty of banking exposure to benefit from the coming interest rate increase environment. There is also a big holding of Alphabet, which doesn’t seem to fit the whole value thing, but can’t be faulted. It looks like the fund has no-load and a 0.52% expense ratio, although Fidelity has it marked as a $75 transaction fee fund.

Stash vs Acorns vs Robinhood vs Betterment vs Wealthfront

The Dodge & Cox Stock Fund is a solid large-cap value fund choice. This is a solid large-cap growth fund.


By Brian Nelson – Brian is a former Certified Financial Planner and financial advisor. He writes for the Finance Gourmet and other financial publications. The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. At the time of publication, Mr. Nelson owned shares of Dodge & Cox Stock fund, however, that may change at any time without notice. ArcticLlama, LLC,, and Brian Nelson, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.

1 thought on “Dodge & Cox Stock Fund Analysis”

  1. You should include the date when this article was published. That will help people determine if the information can be useful.


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