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February 2015

During the month of February, the Global Resources Fund fell 0.32 percent, while the S&P Global Natural Resources Index rose 6.95 percent. See complete fund performance here.

Strengths

  • The fund's overweight in fertilizers and chemicals stocks had a positive contribution to the fund's performance relative to the benchmark.
  • The fund's overweight in integrated oil and gas stocks likewise contributed positively to the fund's performance.
  • Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Inc., an agricultural chemicals company, had the single largest positive contribution to the fund in the month of February.

Weaknesses

  • The fund's overweight in major mining and precious metals stocks contributed negatively to the fund's performance relative to the benchmark
  • Inferior stock selection in base metals contributed negatively to the fund as well.
  • Atlas Development & Support Services Ltd., an oil and gas services & equipment company, had the single largest negative contribution to the fund's performance.

Opportunities

  • With rig counts declining, the bottom for oil companies could very well already have occurred. This would pave the way for outperformance once oil rebounds.

U.S. Oil Rig Count Declining with Oil Prices

  • We are witnessing copper supply disruptions in the market. Less than two months into 2015, annualized losses are already at 530,000 metric tonnes, which implies that expected mine-supply growth could be limited to 1.3 percent. Increasing supply problems should be highly supportive of copper prices in the second half of the year, possibly causing the commodity to reach levels of $7,000 per tonne before year end.
  • World crude-steel capacity could rise 9 percent to around 2.4 billion tonnes through 2017, while steel consumption growth could remain moderate, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD). In 2013, world steel use was 1.6 billion tonnes, 0.5 billion tonnes below capacity, implying that excess capacity could widen in coming years. The OECD has urged governments to eliminate market-distorting practices like subsidies and other support measures in order to tackle excess capacity.

Threats

  • A recovery for commodities is dependent on the revival of growth in Europe. It remains to be seen if the recently-initiated bond purchasing program will achieve this goal.
  • There remains considerable risk that the Federal Reserve could hike rates too soon, pushing the dollar even higher. Clearly, a stronger dollar would cause further disruption in commodities markets.

Performance data quoted above is historical. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Results reflect the reinvestment of dividends and other earnings. For a portion of periods, the fund had expense limitations, without which returns would have been lower. 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. Performance does not include the effect of any direct fees described in the fund's prospectus (e.g., short-term trading fees of 0.05%) which, if applicable, would lower your total returns. Performance quoted for periods of one year or less is cumulative and not annualized. Obtain performance data current to the most recent month-end here or 1-800-US-FUNDS.

The S&P Global Natural Resources Index includes 90 of the largest publicly-traded companies in natural resources and commodities businesses that meet specific investability requirements, offering investors diversified, liquid and investable equity exposure across 3 primary commodity-related sectors: Agribusiness, Energy, and Metals & Mining. Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings in the Global Resources Fund as a percentage of net assets as of 12/31/2014: Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Inc. 2.96%; Atlas Development & Support Services Ltd. 5.43%.

Net Asset Value
as of 03/26/2015

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $5.86 -0.04 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $5.42 -0.12 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $4.54 -0.08 China Region Fund USCOX $8.27 -0.02 Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $6.21 -0.12 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $27.77 -0.09 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $20.65 -0.08 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.26 No Change China Region Fund USCOX $8.27 -0.02