Large-capitalization growth stocks posted nearly flat performance in the second quarter, as relief over resilient corporate earnings growth and enthusiasm about a reaccelerating U.S. economy gave way to worries about the ongoing Greek debt crisis and heightened volatility in China. From a sector perspective, health care, consumer discretionary, and financials generated outsized returns within the S&P 500 Index, while utilities, industrials and business services, energy, and consumer staples declined. Investors braced themselves for the negative effects of both falling energy prices and the strong U.S. dollar. While these headwinds had an impact, many companies reported that they did not affect profits as much as some analysts expected.
The Blue Chip Growth Fund returned 0.49% in the quarter compared with 0.28% for the S&P 500 Index and 0.94% for the Lipper Large-Cap Growth Funds Index. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2015, the fund returned 12.95% versus 7.42% for the S&P 500 Index and 10.56% for the Lipper Large-Cap Growth Funds Index. The fund's average annual total returns were 12.95%, 20.30%, and 9.68% for the 1-, 5-, and 10-year periods, respectively, as of June 30, 2015. The fund's expense ratio was 0.72% as of its fiscal year ended December 31, 2014.
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Current performance may be lower or higher than the quoted past performance, which cannot guarantee future results.
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We concentrate on selecting high-quality, stable-growth companies that should perform well even if the economy only experiences modest expansion in the second half of the year. Our bottom-up stock selection process focuses on large- and mid-cap blue chip growth companies that can deliver steady revenues, earnings, and cash flow growth. The portfolio's largest sector allocations were health care, information technology, and consumer discretionary, which together accounted for about three-quarters of the portfolio at mid-year. The consumer discretionary and health care sectors were the portfolio's best absolute and relative contributors for the past three months. Stock selection in the industrials and business services sector hurt absolute and relative results.
The outlook for equities remains generally positive, but after a six-year bull market run that has seen the S&P 500 rise more than 200%, we believe that investors may have grown complacent about market volatility. Nevertheless, valuations for many high-quality growth companies remain reasonable, especially when compared with Treasury yields that are still very low. 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. Our key concerns are the events unfolding in Greece and China. While Greece captured most of the headlines toward the end of the quarter, the situation in China is potentially more worrisome given that it is the world's second-largest economy.