Mutual Funds Weekly Roundup: December 1

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Coins Placed on Top of Each Other Simulating Growth

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Mutual Funds Weekly Roundup: December 1

Brian Mathews Dec 01, 2016



  • U.S. markets continued to rally during Thanksgiving week and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) hit a record high, closing at 19,152 on Friday and up 1.31% for the week.
  • Telecom stocks saw the largest weekly gain with expectations that President Trump will expand infrastructure
  • Municipal bond funds continued to see major outflows, with investors fleeing under the expectation that interest rates will rise in December.


Market Wrap-Up


The telecommunications sector had the week’s best returns with 5.25% and up 16.11% YTD. With President Trump’s plans to expand infrastructure, the telecom stocks are likely to benefit. In this context, you may want to locate mutual funds that invest in telecommunications stocks.

International Equity – International markets rebounded from last week, with the MSCI-Developed Index gaining 1.29% and the MSCI-Emerging Markets Index gaining 1.34%. The Nikkei 225 Index also bounced back with a 2.90% return for the week.

These returns are clearly short-term corrections from the large decline during last week’s global reaction to the presidential win by Donald Trump, who has clearly announced his plans to alter current trade agreements like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). If the latter materializes, it will have a negative effect on Japan’s trade economy.

Commodities – Energy was significantly up for the week, with the price of crude increasing $0.64 per barrel. On Wednesday, November 30, OPEC met with the non-OPEC participating countries to resolve its past disagreement; thus, maintaining uncertainty over price movements. Gold continued its downward trend from last week and showed negative returns of -$38/troy ounce (-3.17%).

Taxable Bonds – With the last few weeks of decline, taxable bond prices increased. Treasuries yields decreased across the board, except for the 2-year maturities which are the least sensitive to interest rate movements.

Yields for the 10-year and 30-year Treasuries decreased by 1 bps and 4 bps, respectively. The market predicts there is a 100% probability that the Fed will raise interest rates in December’s FOMC meeting. Given this situation, you might be interested to know how to deal with your portfolio when interest rates rise.

Municipal Bonds – The municipal markets saw bond prices continue to decrease and yields increase with the expectations that rates will rise.

The 10-year AAA bond yield increased by 11 bps and the 30-year AAA bond yield increased 8 bps from the week before. Muni bond mutual funds continued to see outflows, with -$2.2 billion in assets leaving this week. This trend shows that muni bond investors are reallocating to investments that will not be negatively affected by rising rates or investments with a low duration. Check out the beginner’s guide to municipal bond funds to learn more.


Monthly Performance Snapshot: Top Fund Category



YTD Performance Snapshot: Top Funds


This fund continues to maintain its position as the top YTD performing fund, primarily by owning both the physical gold commodity and gold mining companies. Its second- and third-largest holdings are Fresnillo PLC, up over 80% YTD, and Newcrest Mining Ltd., which is up 51% YTD.

The following table provides the top performing mutual funds on a YTD basis, as of November 25, 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.


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