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Mutual Funds Mostly Positive YTD: Morningstar

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Year-to-date returns through July 1 for most mutual fund categories are positive again, according to Morningstar.

Russ Kinnel, Morningstar’s director of mutual fund research, tweeted on Tuesday that almost all the core mutual fund categories’ year-to-date returns were “in the black.”

Among U.S. equity funds, mid-cap value had the greatest return at 5.14%, followed by small value. Small and large growth still had negative returns for the year since July 2015, and mid-cap growth returned just 0.28%. Large growth fell 1.59%, followed by a 0.34% decline for small growth.

Equity funds struggled in June, with all categories but large value posting negative one-month returns.

International equity funds struggled more, with several categories, including foreign value, blend and growth stocks posting negative returns year to date. Europe and China posted the largest drops, declining 4.81% and 3.94% respectively.

Latin America stock returned more than 26% since July 1, 2015, while diversified emerging markets showed a more modest 6.65% increase. India equity returned 5.47%, and Asia-Pacific excluding Japan and diversified Asia-Pacific both returned over 2%.

In the days following the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union in late July, the typical U.S. large-blend fund fell by a little less than 4%, and foreign large-blend funds fell almost 7%, Kinnel wrote in an article for Morningstar.

The Brexit vote opened the door to a lot of uncertainty in global markets, as it’s “not clear when, how, or even if Brexit will occur,” and “Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are talking about leaving the U.K. to stay in the EU,” according to Kinnel.

“Down markets can create buying opportunities,” he wrote, but “making a quick, emotional trade is almost always the worst course of action. Sticking to your plan is almost always the best one.”

Ben Warwick of Quantitative Equity Strategies wrote for ThinkAdvisor that although Brexit is unlikely to drive the U.S. into a recession, lower equity valuations are “inevitable.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean lower prices, he added. “Earnings could conceivably increase enough to offset the global disorder created by Brexit. But I can’t see how stocks will be able to maintain their lofty valuations. Increased uncertainty – both politically and economically – lie at the heart of my view.“

Taxable and municipal bond fund categories all posted positive YTD returns. Among taxable bond funds, long government and long-term bonds had the greatest returns, at 14.34% and 13.33% respectively. High-yield munis returned 5.97%.

Year-to-date returns for alternative categories also improved. Multicurrency funds returned 3.05% and managed futures returned 2.24%. Multi-alternatives returned 0.48%. 

— Check out Jeremy Siegel: Stocks Could Jump 15% This Year if Earnings Rise on ThinkAdvisor.


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