Health care stocks generated strong second-quarter gains despite volatility at the end of June related to Brexit and global growth concerns. However, the rally was not enough to offset the steep losses in the first quarter, and the portfolio and its benchmark remain significantly underwater for the year to date. Within the Lipper health/biotechnology benchmark, products and device manufacturers posted a standout, double-digit, return. Every industry group within the sector advanced for the quarter, but biotechnology stocks, which account for the largest allocation in the benchmark, advanced less than 1%. The life sciences, services, and pharmaceuticals segments each gained 4% to 6%.
The Health Sciences Fund returned 4.23% in the quarter compared with 5.29% for the Lipper Health/Biotechnology Funds Index and 2.46% for the S&P 500 Index. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2016, the fund returned −13.98% versus −17.30% for the Lipper Health/Biotechnology Funds Index and 3.99% for the S&P 500 Index. The fund's average annual total returns were −13.98%, 20.64%, and 15.86% for the 1-, 5-, and 10-year periods, respectively, as of June 30, 2016. The fund's expense ratio was 0.76% as of its fiscal year ended December 31, 2015.
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Stock selection and our significant underweight allocation to the poor-performing biotechnology segment generated a strong relative performance contribution in the period. We remain focused on therapeutics companies that produce medicines that prevent diseases, relieve symptoms, and provide cures. Over the quarter, we modestly trimmed our biotech exposure and selectively added to the services segment, which represents the portfolio's largest allocation. Managed care companies, which we think will benefit from an era of depressed health care utilization, compose our largest overweight. Overall, stock selection and, to a lesser extent, sector allocation decisions hurt our comparison with the benchmark in the second quarter.
While market volatility is a likely to be a feature in the near term, due to the recent Brexit decision and the upcoming U.S. elections, our longer-term view on the health care sector remains constructive given the demographic, technological, and clinical needs tailwinds. Our focus remains on investing in companies that are developing new and effective innovative therapies for unmet medical needs, as well as companies whose businesses reduce costs or improve quality in our health care system.