Mutual Funds Scorecard: December 10 Edition

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Mutual Funds Scorecard for this week


Mutual Funds Scorecard: December 10 Edition

Iuri Struta Dec 10, 2019

Every fortnight, provides a snapshot of the performance of some key mutual funds which tries to accurately capture the investor interest in specific areas of the financial markets. The report is aimed at providing a quick overview of the sectors, regions and asset classes that moved in a meaningful manner during the last two weeks.
*Flows to mutual funds were negative for the week ending November 26. As usual, equities saw large outflows, while bonds enjoyed a fair amount of inflows. Overall, more than $7 billion was withdrawn from mutual funds.

*Equities saw outflows of over $21 billion, with domestic and large-cap equities hit the most. Emerging markets equities saw the smallest outflows of just a few million. Meanwhile, bonds mutual funds enjoyed inflows of more than $14 billion, with taxable and investment-grade the largest beneficiaries.

*Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, strongly signaled that interest
rates are unlikely to rise soon as the bank is committed to anchoring inflation expectations.

*The U.S. economy expanded by 2.1% in the third quarter, as the initial figure was revised up from 1.9%. The growth is still way lower compared to the first quarter when the economy grew by 3.1%.

*One reason for the slowdown is weak industrial sentiment across the board. In the U.S., the Chicago Producers’ Manufacturing Index came in below the expansion level for the third consecutive month in November.

*Euro-area inflation rate advanced 1% in November, up from 0.7% in the previous month, beating expectations of 0.8%. Core inflation increased by 20 basis points to 1.3%. Both numbers are well below the European Central Bank’s inflation goal of close to but below the 2% mark.

*Chinese manufacturing PMI moved into territory-indicating expansion in November to 50.2, after six months of negative readings. Next month will give an indication of whether this is the beginning of a recovery of industrial output or a statistical insignificance. Caixin’s manufacturing PMI in November came in positive for the fourth consecutive month.

*ECB President Christine Lagarde launched a review of the bank’s monetary policy, the second such assessment since the euro was implemented in 2001. The review is expected to examine a multitude of pressing subjects, ranging from negative interest rates to climate change.

*The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) ended discussions Thursday with no announcement on potential cuts to production that might support oil prices. It had been expected that OPEC and Russia might agree to extend production cuts, while Russia also suggested further output slashes were possible.

*The U.S. job market could not be stronger. For the month of November, it added 266,000 jobs, around 110,000 more than the prior month. Analysts had expected a reading of 181,000. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5% from 3.6% previously, while average hourly earnings grew by 0.2%.

We provide this report on a fortnightly basis. To stay up to date with mutual fund market events, come back to our news page here.

Broad Indices

  • Technology sector fund (NASDX) declined 5% for the past two weeks, becoming the worst performer of the pack.
  • The broad stock market fund (VTSMX), meanwhile, was the best performer from the bunch with a gain of 1.31%.

Be sure to view other funds from Vanguard here.

Broad Indices Performance Dec 10, 2019

Major Sectors

  • Major sectors were almost all up, with a few exceptions.
  • Healthcare equities fund (THISX) is again the best performer for the past two weeks, with a rise of 2.5%.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, utilities sector fund (FKUTX) declined nearly 2%, as demand for safe-haven assets has been weak.
Major Sectors Performance Dec 10, 2019

Foreign Funds

  • Foreign equities were all up, posting gains between 0.7% and 2%.
  • The Japanese equities fund (HJPNX) was up 1.46%, representing the best performance.
  • Emerging markets equities fund (VEIEX) was the weakest performer, with a gain of just 0.78%.
Foreign Funds Performance Dec 10, 2019

Major Asset Classes

  • The picture in asset classes was more mixed, as usual, but a larger portion of the funds posted positive performance.
  • Small-cap equities fund (CSGEX) lost 3.8% of its value over the past two weeks, trimming year-to-date gains to 22%.
  • John Hancock’s multicurrency fund (JCUAX) gained 2.09% for the past two weeks, becoming the rare best performer from the pack.
Major Asset Classes Performance Dec 10, 2019

The Bottom Line

Flows did not stage any surprises these past two weeks, with inflows to bond mutual funds failing to offset outflows from equity funds. A host of manufacturing PMIs have shown the industry is in contraction mode, but the U.S. job market remains quite strong. Technology, utilities and small-cap stocks have been pummeled, all falling north of 2%, while healthcare, Japanese equities and multicurrency funds have impressed with a strong performance.

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