Global energy and materials stocks were flat to down during the quarter as prices for oil and other commodities were broadly pressured by a continued oversupply in the global market, as well as expectations for softer global demand, particularly from China. Global real estate stocks produced solid results in the fourth quarter, but underlying country returns were mixed. U.S. real estate stocks finished higher and outperformed the broad U.S. equities market. While U.S. economic growth remained far from robust, employment continued to recover, and we have begun to see small improvements in wage growth and household formation. Among the larger markets outside the U.S., Japan produced modestly positive returns, while Hong Kong and the United Kingdom both lost ground.
The Real Assets Fund returned 1.56% in the quarter compared with 5.15% for the MSCI All Country World Index and −2.95% for the Lipper Specialty/Miscellaneous Funds Average. For the 12 months ended December 31, 2015, the fund returned −14.69% versus −1.84% for the MSCI All Country World Index and −12.64% for the Lipper Specialty/Miscellaneous Funds Average. The fund's average annual total returns were −14.69%, −3.83%, and 0.08% for the 1-, 5-, and Since Inception (07/28/2010) periods, respectively, as of December 31, 2015. The fund's expense ratio was 0.83% as of its fiscal year ended December 31, 2014.
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We are underweight natural resources stocks relative to its benchmark. We continue to believe that the market is in the initial years of a secular downcycle in commodities. We believe the market is approaching a new long-term average for the price of oil in the range of $40 to $65 per barrel despite the higher price levels that many market participants continue to expect. Other commodities continue to struggle with oversupply, slack demand growth, and a strong U.S. dollar. We are overweight to U.S. and global real estate stocks given solid fundamentals, a favorable supply/demand dynamic, and expectations for less interest rate pressure than previously expected in the U.S. and abroad. We are aware of the potential for near-term cyclical dislocations to create opportunities to buy high-quality stocks at favorable valuations.
Although cheaper energy benefits U.S. consumers' budgets and energy-intensive manufacturers, it challenges the stocks of energy producers and, in particular, energy service companies. Lackluster economic growth outside the U.S., particularly in China, and a stronger U.S. dollar spell continued trouble for a wide range of commodities, including industrial metals and energy. We expect operating fundamentals in the real estate sector to remain solid over the near term in most markets due to the favorable supply/demand imbalance. But we note that with supply pipelines increasing, we inch closer to a tipping point if demand wanes. We will also keep a close eye on credit markets where investors have been demanding higher yields from riskier assets over the past few months. While we remain alert to potential risks, we are comforted that interest rates may remain relatively low, providing support to real estate values for some time to come.