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Funds Squeak Out Small Gain in Q2: Lipper

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Equity funds had their third consecutive quarterly gain in the second quarter of 2015, according to Lipper data. For many fund groups and categories, though, the gains were limited.

Overall, equity funds improved just 0.1% in the second quarter. World equity funds, however, rose by 1.22%, which outpaced U.S. diversity-equity funds’ weak 0.03% increase.

Mixed-asset funds, on the other hand, weakened 0.7%, while sector equity funds declined 1.8%.

Some of the period’s most stellar returns were posted by the commodities energy fund group, up more than 9%, while China funds rose nearly 8%. Health care/biotech funds improved roughly 5%; Japan funds ticked up about 4%.

As for laggards, real estate funds stood out, with a drop of 9%. Utilities weakened 4%, as did India funds.

(In the second quarter, the U.S. dollar weakened vs. the euro by nearly 4%, but improved vs. the yen by close to 2%. Gold prices dropped 1%, while oil gained a whopping 25%.)

As for U.S. diversified equity funds, which ticked up just 0.03% on average in Q2, small-cap growth funds outperformed the broader group with a 2% uptick. Large-cap growth funds rose 0.6%. Small-cap value funds, though, weakened 0.5%, and equity income funds fell 1%.

Year to date, U.S. diversified equity funds are up 2.53% as of June 30. They are being outpaced by world equity funds, which have improved 4.7% so far this year. Mixed-asset funds have a return of 1.3% for the first six months of 2015.

The quarterly fund performance was driven by average equity-fund gains of 1.3% in April, when the price of oil jumped 25%. In May, equity funds tacked on close to 0.6%; the S&P 500 hit a new high, but U.S. stocks remained range bound, according to Tom Roseen, head of research services for Lipper.

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