February 2016

For the month of February, the Global Resources Fund returned 5.16 percent, underperforming its benchmark, the S&P Global Natural Resources Index, which rose 7.10 percent during the same period. See complete fund performance here.

Strengths

  • The fund's underweight and stock selection in the integrated oil and gas sector had a large positive contribution to the fund's performance for the month of February.
  • The fund's overweight and stock selection in junior growth stocks helped lead to the fund's outperformance against its benchmark during the month.
  • The Gran Colombia Gold notes were the best performer within the fund for the month of January.

Weaknesses

  • The fund's underweight in the major mining space led to a negative contribution to the fund's performance.
  • The fund's overweight in the oil refining and marketing sector led to a negative contribution to the fund's performance.
  • Marathon Petroleum was the worst performing holding within the fund for the month of February.

Opportunities

  • Canadian gold miners have a lot of catching up to do. Despite a spectacular start to the year, the miners have yet to price in the advance of gold in Canadian dollars. Since their respective peaks in 2011, the Canadian dollar gold price has recovered and is now less than 10 percent below its all-time high. The same is not true for the miners, which are more than 60 percent below their peak, therefore lagging the recent performance of the metal and setting up a significant revaluation opportunity.
  • The American Petroleum Institute's (API) monthly report for January showed an encouraging trend of oil supply declines and demand upticks, which, if maintained, could help the market rebalance sooner. For the month of January, crude production in the lower 48 states fell to 8.6 million barrels per day, the lowest since November 2014. Meanwhile, total petroleum demand rose to 19.4 million barrels per day, the highest since 2008.
  • Smart money is looking into energy stocks for value. Warren Buffett disclosed a new investment in pipeline operator Kinder Morgan, initiated late last year after shares fell 65 percent. In addition, the 10 largest U.S. hedge funds bought $1.5 billion in energy stocks during the fourth quarter, making the sector the top buy of the last quarter of 2015.

Threats

  • Global crude output is not showing any signs of abatement. Bloomberg's Julian Lee suggests Russian crude and condensate production just set a new post-Soviet daily record of 10.92 million barrels per day in February, as of February 25. The rate is slightly above January's numbers, and more than 200,000 barrels per day higher than February 2015.
  • The Russia-Saudi Arabia proposal to freeze oil production at January levels would have no impact on supply-and-demand balances for the year and would leave the global surplus in place, according to Goldman Sachs analysts. January OPEC and Russian output of 43.1 million barrels per day would only be 115,000 barrels lower than Goldman Sachs' 2016 production forecasts.
  • Iron ore prices have crossed into bull market territory but the chance of a sustained price rally is unlikely, according to Capital Economics. Chinese restocking after the Lunar New Year and temporary port closures in Brazil have recently supported prices. However, iron ore is in "significant backwardation," meaning large supply cuts are needed to bring the over-supplied market back into balance.

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 by calling 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. The S&P/TSX Global Gold Index is designed to provide an investable index of global gold securities, including producers of gold and related products.

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 12/31/2015: Gran Colombia Gold Corp. 7.08%, Marathon Petroleum Corp. 0.21%, Kinder Morgan Inc. 0.00%.

Net Asset Value
as of 05/02/2016

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $5.25 -0.03 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $8.39 -0.10 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $6.65 -0.05 China Region Fund USCOX $7.07 0.02 Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $5.84 -0.02 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $23.87 0.14 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $17.81 0.14 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.25 No Change U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $2.01 No Change