Fourth Quarter 2019

The U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund had a total return of 0.32 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, underperforming its benchmark, the Bloomberg Barclays US Treasury Bills 6-9 Months Index, which returned 0.54 percent. See complete fund performance here.

The main source of underperformance came from an underweight in the 0-1 year maturity range, as that maturity range performed strongly.

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 bonds maturing within a year contributed positively to performance.

Weaknesses

  • The fund’s allocation to bonds maturing within a year contributed positively to performance.

Outlook

Waning recession fears should tilt the probabilities toward higher Treasury yields in 2020. One of the key drivers behind the steep drop in yields in 2019 was fear of a recession, as manufacturing activity fell and tariffs weighed on the growth outlook. However, rate cuts by the Federal Reserve have helped ease those concerns. In 2020, the lagged impact of the Fed’s interest rate cuts, signs of stabilization in the global economy and an easing of trade tensions should provide a boost to bond yields. U.S economic growth is set to remain modest, but even at a GDP growth rate of between 2 to 3 percent, there is still room for bond yields to move modestly higher.

The Fed has made it clear that after three rate cuts in 2019, bringing the federal funds rate to a range of 1.50 percent to 1.75 percent, monetary policy is on hold for the foreseeable future. The policy rate should be low enough to provide stimulus to the economy, keep credit flowing to businesses and consumers and raise inflation expectations from very low levels. The Fed is also reportedly considering a policy of allowing inflation to hold above 2 percent without countering it in order to bolster positive inflation expectations.

 

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.

Net Asset Value
as of 02/21/2020

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $4.44 0.04 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $10.57 0.30 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $3.60 0.12 China Region Fund USCOX $8.80 -0.08 Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $7.40 No Change All American Equity Fund GBTFX $26.50 -0.20 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $17.13 -0.24 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.24 No Change U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $2.00 No Change