Large-capitalization growth stocks posted solid first-quarter gains. In general, growth stocks outperformed value shares across all market capitalizations, but large-caps trailed the returns of small- and mid-cap stocks. From a sector perspective, health care and consumer discretionary generated outsized returns within the broad S&P 500 Index, while utilities, energy, and financials declined. Growth in the U.S. economy slowed sharply in the first quarter, though harsh winter weather appears to have played a substantial role. Currency translation stemming from the strong U.S. dollar is pressuring revenues and earnings of multinational corporations by both reducing the attractiveness of U.S. exports and weighing on capital expenditures by internationally focused U.S. firms.
The Blue Chip Growth Fund returned 5.96% in the quarter compared with 0.95% for the S&P 500 Index and 3.44% for the Lipper Large-Cap Growth Funds Index. For the 12 months ended March 31, 2015, the fund returned 17.08% versus 12.73% for the S&P 500 Index and 14.26% for the Lipper Large-Cap Growth Funds Index. The fund's average annual total returns were 17.08%, 17.07%, and 10.02% for the 1-, 5-, and 10-year periods, respectively, as of March 31, 2015. The fund's expense ratio was 0.74% as of its fiscal year ended December 31, 2013.
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We concentrate on owning high-quality, stable growth companies that should perform well even if the economy only experiences modest expansion in the coming quarters. Our bottom-up stock selection process focuses on large- and mid-cap growth companies that can deliver steady revenues, earnings, and cash flow growth. At the end of the quarter, our largest sector allocations were information technology, health care, and consumer discretionary, together accounting for nearly three-quarters of the portfolio. These sectors were the best relative performance contributors for the past three months, largely due to stock selection in all three segments and overweight allocations to health care and consumer discretionary stocks. However, stock selection within and an overweight to the industrials and business services sector hurt our relative performance.
We remain optimistic about the equity market's near- and longer-term prospects. Even after recording solid gains in the quarter, we believe that the valuations for many high-quality, growth companies remain reasonable. Additionally, we are seeing signs of improvement in consumer spending thanks to lower energy costs. We intend to take advantage of market volatility and investor uncertainty to buy fundamentally sound companies that can generate double-digit earnings and durable cash flow growth when they are out of favor.