Most major U.S. stock indexes rose in the second quarter. Markets registered moderate gains in April and May, supported by accommodative monetary policies overseas, stabilizing oil prices, and expectations for fewer interest rate hikes in the U.S. Markets tumbled in late June, however, after the UK surprised investors by voting leave the European Union (Brexit). International developed markets stocks declined moderately, while emerging markets stocks rose slightly overall. Oil prices rallied amid speculation that OPEC producers would freeze or cut production at an April 17 meeting. Combined with renewed stimulus efforts in China, these factors supported a rebound in prices for a number of commodities. Performance among global real estate stocks was mixed, although the U.S. and a majority of other countries were positive.
The Real Assets Fund returned 8.46% in the quarter compared with 1.19% for the MSCI All Country World Index and −1.64% for the Lipper Specialty/Miscellaneous Funds Average. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2016, the fund returned 5.83% versus −3.17% for the MSCI All Country World Index and −9.78% for the Lipper Specialty/Miscellaneous Funds Average. The fund's average annual total returns were 5.83%, −0.85%, and 3.06% for the 1-, 5-, and Since Inception (07/28/2010) periods, respectively, as of June 30, 2016. The fund's expense ratio was 0.83% as of its fiscal year ended December 31, 2015.
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Current performance may be lower or higher than the quoted past performance, which cannot guarantee future results.
Share price, principal value, and return will vary and you may have a gain or loss when you sell your shares.
The Real Assets Fund charges a 2%
redemption fee on shares held 90 days or less.
The performance information shown does not reflect the deduction of the redemption fee;
if it did, the performance would be lower.
Our real assets equity portfolio generated strong returns for the period, with every sub-asset class finishing in positive territory. Precious metals equities generated exceptional double-digit gains as investors turned to the asset class amid elevated currency and economic uncertainty. Our industrial metals and natural resources stocks also registered strong gains amid optimism about renewed stimulus efforts in China, Europe, and Japan. U.S. and international real estate investment trusts posted lesser gains but still outperformed the broader equities market. The U.S. leasing pipelines remain active, and occupancy rates and rents are increasing in many markets across a range of property types. We are optimistic that our Japanese real estate stocks are positioned to benefit from economic recovery and a reversal of deflationary pressures.
We remain cautious on the prospects for energy and commodity prices given concerns over secular supply and demand imbalances and the impacts of weak global growth and trade. Recent strength in energy prices is likely to be challenged by additional supply as U.S. and international suppliers respond to rising prices with increased production. Demand for industrial metals is expected to remain subdued as China struggles to maintain growth levels while shifting its economy away from its dependence on industrial production and exports to one more balanced by domestic consumption. Fundamentals for developed markets real estate remain broadly positive, supported by low interest rates, modestly improving economic environments, and limited supply.