Mutual Funds Weekly Roundup: November 24

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Mutual Funds Weekly Roundup: November 24

Brian Mathews Nov 24, 2016 provides weekly information about any material impact on the mutual funds industry due to major economic and corporate events around the world. In addition, performance statistics on the top funds and fund categories are also provided.
  • U.S. markets continue to rally in the week after the presidential election.
  • Financials continue to see the largest gains, with expectations that the new administration will loosen banking regulations.
  • Taxable and municipal bond funds continue to see large outflows, with investors reallocating to asset classes that will not be affected by an expected rise in interest rates in December.

Market Wrap-Up

U.S. Equity

The U.S. markets were up for the week, with the NASDAQ up 1.61% for the week followed by the S&P 500 with 0.81% and 0.11% for the DJIA. So far, equity mutual funds have done very well year-to-date (YTD) and are seeing new highs. In addition, President Trump mentioned proposed tax cuts for corporate America several times, which should provide extra tailwind for equities.

Financials continues to be one of the top performing U.S. equity sectors, up 2.26% for the week and 16.50% YTD. Financials are up with looming speculation that the Trump administration will loosen regulations for the banking industry. In case you are wondering how to locate mutual funds that invest in the financial sector, look here.

International Equity
International markets retreated, with the MSCI Developed index down 1.52% and the MSCI Emerging index down 0.52%. However, Japan’s NIKKEI index was not affected and was up 3.41%. The political changes that happened in the last few weeks in the U.S. did not have a positive impact on the international markets. Among the President’s proposed policy changes, alteration of the NAFTA trade agreement is of prime importance. This could directly affect countries like Mexico that are reliant on importing to America, as well as companies that outsource manufacturing for cheaper labor costs.

Energy was significantly up for the week, with the price of crude increasing $2.28 per barrel. Metals like gold and copper both showed negative returns, down -$15/troy ounce (-1.3%) and -$0.04/pound (-1.6%), respectively.

Taxable Bonds
With the markets anticipating the Fed to raise interest rates next month, bond prices continue to fall. On similar grounds, equity investors are still weary of allocating funds into bond funds.

Yields for the 10-year and 30-year Treasuries grew 0.20 bps and 0.09 bps, respectively. On Thursday, Fed Chairman Janet Yellen indicated a rate hike soon. The market predicts there is a 98% probability that the Fed will raise interest rates in December. To learn how a portfolio should deal with an interest rate hike, read this article.

Municipal Bonds
Like taxable bonds, the municipal markets saw bond prices decrease and yields increase with interest rates hikes looming in the near future.

The 10-year AAA bond yield increased by 0.34 bps and the 30-year AAA bond yield increased 0.29 bps from the week before. Muni bond mutual funds saw the largest outflow in three years of $3 billion. This shows that bond investors are reallocating to investments that will not be negatively affected by rising rates.

Performance Snapshot: Based on rolling month

The following table provides a list of the top performing subcategories for the previous week within the broader categories of the mutual fund industry. In each of those subcategories, we have listed out the top mutual funds based on month-to-date (MTD) fund return generated as of November 18, 2016.

Performance Snapshot: Based on year-to-date

Top performing fund: First Eagle Gold fund (FEGIX)

This fund has seen a strong YTD performance, primarily by owning both the physical gold commodity and gold mining companies. Its second and third largest holdings are Fresnillo PLC and Newcrest Mining Ltd., which are both up over 55% on a YTD basis.

Top 5 Performers

The following table provides the top performing mutual funds on a YTD basis, as of November 18, 2016. Only those funds that are rated 5 stars by Morningstar and that generated YTD return greater than that achieved by the S&P 500 are included.

We provide this report on a weekly basis. To stay up to date with mutual fund market events, return to our News page.

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