Second Quarter 2020

The U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund had a total return of 0.15 percent in the second quarter of 2020, outperforming its benchmark, the Bloomberg Barclays US Treasury Bills 6-9 Months Index, which fell 0.02 percent. See complete fund performance here.

The main source of outperformance came from allocations to bonds with maturities between one and three years, as longer maturity bonds outperformed shorter maturity bonds.

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 allocation to longer maturity bonds relative to the benchmark was a positive contributor to performance.

Weaknesses

  • The fund’s allocation to cash was a negative contributor to performance as it earns no interest.

Outlook

Federal Reserve officials held interest rates near zero at their meeting in June and signaled they would keep them there through 2022. Minutes of the June meeting showed officials saw the economy needing support for longer and that they favored a more explicit form of forward guidance on the future path of rates and bond buying. Additionally, in his latest testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, Fed Chairman Jay Powell stressed to Congress that getting the coronavirus under control was vital as the U.S. economy rebounds from the sharpest contraction on record.

The Fed has worked with the Treasury Department to launch nine emergency lending programs aimed at providing a credit backstop to everything from municipalities to medium-sized businesses. Those actions helped lower borrowing costs and have kept the financial system liquid in a time of stress.

Economists caution that a long period of labor reallocation—where workers in an industry directly impacted by the virus must find new skills and jobs in other industries—risks keeping unemployment high for years.

Recently, Goldman Sachs Group economists revised down their estimates for the U.S. economy during the third quarter but predicted it will be back on track in September after some states imposed fresh restrictions to combat the coronavirus. While consumer spending appears likely to stall in July and August, economists led by Jan Hatzius said other economies have proved it’s possible to resume activity, and changes in behavior such as wearing masks will help too. The economists said they now expect the economy to grow 25 percent in the third quarter, having previously predicted 33 percent. That would result in the economy slumping 4.6 percent this year, worse than the 4.2 percent previously seen. Nonetheless, the Goldman Sachs economists said they still expect growth of 5.8 percent next year and now project unemployment will be at 9 percent at the end of this year, down from the previous estimate of 9.5 percent.

 

The Barclays U.S. Treasury Bills 6-9 Months Total Return Index tracks the performance of U.S. Treasury Bills with a maturity of six to nine months. It is not possible to invest in an index.

Net Asset Value
as of 08/07/2020

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $4.89 -0.05 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $14.15 -0.47 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $5.29 -0.06 China Region Fund USCOX $9.29 -0.14 Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $5.79 -0.07 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $23.76 -0.08 Global Luxury Goods Fund USLUX $16.48 -0.20 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.26 No Change U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $2.00 No Change