Most of the major U.S. stock indexes recorded modest gains in the quarter and reached new or multiyear highs as investors balanced favorable corporate earnings against economic and geopolitical concerns. Some information technology stocks saw sharp declines late in the period, however, as investors shunned fast-growing companies with elevated valuations. Electronics components makers fared particularly well among technology stocks, followed by services firms. Retail-oriented firms performed especially poorly and recorded a substantial loss for the quarter.
The Science & Technology Fund returned 2.38% in the quarter compared with 1.81% for the S&P 500 Index and 2.45% for the Lipper Science & Technology Funds Index. For the 12 months ended March 31, 2014, the fund returned 36.95% versus 21.86% for the S&P 500 Index and 30.66% for the Lipper Science & Technology Funds Index. The fund's average annual total returns were 36.95%, 22.91%, and 8.14% for the 1-, 5-, and 10-year periods, respectively, as of March 31, 2014. The fund's expense ratio was 0.88% as of its fiscal year ended December 31, 2012.
For up-to-date standardized total returns, including the most recent month-end performance, please click on the Performance tab, above.
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.
Our focus remains identifying attractively valued stocks across sectors, market caps, and growth rates, predominantly in technology and related industries. We believe there are opportunities within the semiconductor industry given reasonable valuations; accommodating inventory dynamics; and the potential for better economic growth, which would especially help semiconductor earnings. Our holdings are concentrated in companies that we believe are positioned for solid growth and profitability even as technology evolves.
It continues to be an eventful time in the technology sector, as vendors large and small leverage ever-improving platforms to deliver innovative products and services for individual and business users. The Internet remains a source of value creation, and cloud computing continues to be a growing influence in the enterprise technology world. Overall, technology remains an integral component of both our business and personal lives, while at the same time blurring the space between the two. As such, we will continue to leverage our global research platform that applies in-depth research to achieve in-depth knowledge of companies and the industry and uncover attractive stocks.