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From The No-Load Fund Investor, 5/17...
Most areas of the global stock market produced gains in April. While the S&P 500 rose by 0.9%, other indexes performed even better. For example, the NASDAQ composite, in which technology stocks dominate (with about 44% of assets), gained 2.3%, as did the MSCI EAFE Index of foreign developed country stocks.
Within the U.S. market, technology and healthcare turned in the strongest performances among sectors, with gains above 2% in April. Partially because both are heavily represented in ‘growth’ funds and ETFs, such products in our database gained an average of 2%. Meanwhile, financial services and especially energy stocks continue to lag in 2017. As these are much more prominent in ‘value’ products, on average the value funds and ETFs we track gained only 0.3%. For the year, growth is beating value 9.5% to 3.8%.
Best Buys Changes/Commentary. We are making no changes this month in our Best Buys models focused on conventional funds. However, in our ETF Wealth Builder model, we are removing the 5% position in PowerShares BuybackAchievers (PKW) to fund an increase in the position size of Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-U.S. (VEU). This change brings the recommended international equity allocation of this model up to 15%. In ETF Income & Capital Preservation, we are removing PKW in favor of a doubling of the recommended weighting in Vanguard Total StockMarket (VTI), bringing that broad market U.S. index ETF to a 10% weighting.
So far this year within Best Buys, the Price models have been performing especially well, while the Vanguard ones have been lagging a bit. As we recommend similar asset allocations between the equivalent models of both firms, the differences can be explained by the performances of the individual constituents, especially the actively managed equity funds.
To learn about other Best Buys activity, see the May issue of The No-Load Fund Investor.
Global Growth Funds
After relatively poor performances in 2016, broad portfolios of large-cap U.S. growth stocks on the one hand and foreign stocks on the other are performing well so far in 2017. It’s no surprise, then, that several funds that combine the two types of equities into one portfolio have been doing especially well. More important, given that the positive momentum of these equities is still a relatively new development, we think it has a strong possibility of continuing for the rest of the year.
Global equity funds include stocks both from the U.S. and abroad. Our Best Buys model portfolios include three: Artisan Global Opportunities (ARTRX), Oakmark Global Select (OAKWX) and Grandeur Peak Global Stalwarts (GGSOX). Though all of these are performing well, only the Artisan fund is a global large-cap growth fund. Though Oakmark Global Select (up 9.2% year to date, through April 30) includes mainly large stocks, more of them are of the ‘value’ variety than ‘growth.’ Though Grandeur Peak Global Stalwarts (up 12.1%year to date) invests in growth stocks, most of them are small and midsize at purchase, not large, at least in terms of the stock market. Therefore, we’ll write today about Artisan Global Opportunities, up 13.8% year to date, as well as two other global large-cap growth funds you may want to consider.
We have included Artisan Global Opportunities ($2.1 billion in assets in all share classes), formerly known as Artisan Growth Opportunities, for many years in various Best Buys model portfolios. In the three-year period ended April 30, 2017, the fund produced an annualized gain of 10.4%. This return was among the top performances of all the global equity funds we track.
The Artisan growth team manages Global Opportunities. The team’s strategy was originated nearly 20 years ago by Andy Stephens and Jim Hamel. While Stephens, a current managing director at Artisan Partners, is scheduled to retire next year and no longer oversees the fund on a day-to-day basis, Hamel continues to serve as lead portfolio manager, assisted by two other portfolio managers and 10 equity analysts and associate analysts.
Our comprehensive analysis of global growth funds can be found in the May issue of The No-Load Fund Investor.
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