InvestmentsJun 25 2020

Best and worst funds in six months of market mayhem

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Best and worst funds in six months of market mayhem
ByImogen Tew

The Baillie Gifford American fund is the absolute best performer over the past six months, beating the market crashes caused by the coronavirus crisis to return 53 per cent since January.

US and Global funds were investors’ best bet, with the Morgan Stanley US Growth fund, two long-term global growth funds and the Matthews China Small Companies fund making up the best five performers from January 1 to June 19.

Figures from FE, published by AJ Bell yesterday (June 23), showed funds exposed to the oil market — such as energy portfolios or Latin American funds — fared worst as oil prices continued their downward trend, exacerbated by the lack of demand caused by the pandemic.

HSBC’s Brazil Equity fund, Schroders’ Global Energy fund and the Alquity Latin America fund feature in the worst performers from January to June.

What was formerly Neil Woodford’s flagship equity income fund is the absolute worst performer, however, as only the hard-to-sell and often underperforming assets remain in the defunct portfolio.

All Funds
Best performersWorst performers
Baillie Gifford American53.02LF Equity Income-42.44
Morgan Stanley US Growth49.59HSBC GIF Brazil Equity-39.75
LF Access Long Term Global Growth Investment44.81ASI UK Recovery Equity-39.52
Baillie Gifford Long Term Global Growth Investment44.2Schroder ISF Global Energy-36.21
Matthews China Small Companies44.11Alquity Latin America - Jul 16-35.72
LF Ruffer Gold39.62The VT Oxeye Hedged Income Option-35.21
Morgan Stanley US Advantage37.81Brown Advisory Latin American-34.68
Baillie Gifford Positive Change33.61JPM - Brazil Equity-34.57
T. Rowe Price Global Technology Equity33.18Guinness - Global Energy-34.53
Baillie Gifford Global Discovery32.14BlackRock - GF Latin American-34.05

Source: FE/AJ Bell. January 1 - June 19.

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at AJ Bell, said: “The past six months has been a period most investors will never forget – but many would dearly like to. Markets have been on a wild ride.”

Investors in UK markets are still sitting on heavy losses, with the FTSE 100 down 20 per cent since the start of the year, the FTSE All Share down a similar amount and the FTSE 250, more exposed to the domestic economy, down more than 23 per cent.

The UK has lagged its global counterparts. The S&P 500 market is down just 6.4 per cent, the Nikkei 225 just 4 per cent and the SSE down 7 per cent.

Ms Suter said: “This is reflected in the best performing fund being Baillie Gifford American with a stunning return of over 53 per cent. 

“Fund investors will be dismayed that UK active funds have failed to prove their worth over this time, on average. The average UK All Companies fund has delivered the same return as the FTSE All Share year-to-date, of -16.6 per cent. In total, almost half have delivered a worse return than the index.”

Not a single fund in the UK All Companies sector produced a positive return from January 1 to June 19, with the top performer — Royal London’s Sustainable Leaders Trust — losing 1.7 per cent.

The absolute worst performer was the Aberdeen Standard Investment Recovery Equity fund, which dropped almost 40 per cent in the six months.