Fourth Quarter 2019

The All American Equity Fund had a total return of 7.36 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, underperforming its benchmark, the S&P 500 Index, which returned 9.06 percent. See complete fund performance here.

Much of the All American Equity Fund’s underperformance was due to an under allocation in the technology sector and mega-capitalization equities, which do not offer much dividend yield growth. The fund instead focuses on companies that reward investors with dividend yield growth and continue to repurchase their outstanding shares, among other factors.  Unfortunately, during the most recent quarter, investors did not pursue these fundamental metrics and instead chased mega-cap growth companies.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. Current performance may be higher or lower than the performance data quoted. The principal value and investment return of an investment will fluctuate so that your shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

Strengths

  • The fund’s allocations to industrials, consumer staples and financials contributed most to performance.  All three sectors seemed to get a boost from rising consumer sentiment.  The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rebounded nearly 10 percent during the fourth quarter.
  • The fund’s overweight in consumer discretionary and consumer staples proved to be a good decision, as evidenced by the allocation’s attribution to performance.  Fortunately, the model underweighted the two worst performing sectors for the quarter: real estate and utilities.
  • Investments in Wynn Resorts, Altria Group and Allegion were among the best contributors to fund performance. Wynn resorts and some of its peers were driven higher on hopes of a resolution to the trade war. Investors are anticipating the geopolitical uncertainty caused by the U.S.-China trade tensions to abate.

Weaknesses

  • The fund’s underweighted allocations to information technology, health care and energy were the largest drags on performance.
  • The fund’s overweight in energy had the largest adverse contribution to the fund’s overall performance. Additionally, the model’s stock selection in this area also failed to produce the type of results we had hoped.
  • Investments in Occidental Petroleum, Home Depot and Oracle were the greatest absolute detractors to the fund’s performance.  Occidental has been having difficulty merging Anadarko’s business into their own. The energy producer vowed to slash spending, which weighed on investor confidence.

Outlook

Surveying the investment potential for the first quarter of 2020, we believe many of the potential economic drags investors worried about during the previous quarters will diminish.  Of most concern, fears about the ongoing U.S.-China trade war should fade due to the recent “phase one” agreement.  Additionally, the Federal Reserve indicated easier financial conditions going forward and is scheduled to conclude its interest rate framework near mid-year with the adoption of some sort of inflation targeting strategy. This type of action is perceived to be a good sign for equity and bond investors alike.

Not only are expectations for interest rates to remain at muted levels for the foreseeable future good for investors, but this type of “easy money” has historically provided a lift for home builders and other high ticket consumer products. Ultimately, with an accommodative Fed, the current administration’s desire to have strong stock market performance and institutional appetite for equity fund-like returns, we feel the probability of higher equity prices are in our future.

 

The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. There is no guarantee that the issuers of any securities will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, will remain at current levels or increase over time. The dividend yield is the ratio of a company's annual dividend compared to its share price. The University of Michigan Confidence Index is a survey of consumer confidence conducted by the University of Michigan. The report, released on the tenth of each month, gives a snapshot of whether or not consumers are willing to spend money.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings in the All American Equity Fund as a percentage of net assets as of 12/31/2019: Wynn Resorts Ltd 3.65%, Altria Group Inc 3.59%, Allegion PLC 4.06%, Occidental Petroleum Corp 2.65%, Home Depot Inc/The 2.77%, Oracle Corp 2.85%.

 

Net Asset Value
as of 01/24/2020

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $4.50 -0.03 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $9.85 0.11 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $3.28 -0.01 China Region Fund USCOX $8.94 -0.10 Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $7.83 -0.03 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $26.39 -0.27 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $17.02 -0.28 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.23 No Change U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $2.00 No Change