Fourth Quarter 2020

**On July 1, 2020, the Holmes Macro Trends Fund (MEGAX) changed its name and investment strategy to the Global Luxury Goods Fund (USLUX).

The Global Luxury Goods Fund had a total return of 23.50% in the fourth quarter of 2020, strongly outperforming its benchmark, the S&P 1500 Index, which returned 13.24%. See complete fund performance here.

Global equities gained in the fourth quarter and ended the year at record highs as several vaccine breakthroughs fostered hopes of a return to economic normality. The developments eclipsed Joe Biden’s win in the U.S. presidential election, as well as a $900 billion stimulus package announced in late December. The Federal Reserve reinforced its supportive message, stating it will continue with current levels of quantitative easing. Economically sensitive sectors made the strongest gains, with more defensive sectors making more modest progress. The overall consumer discretionary sector continues to perform strongly, fueled by the recovery narrative.

The Global Luxury Good Fund’s outperformance of the benchmark during the quarter was mainly a result of overweighting the consumer discretionary sector.

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. Performance data quoted represents past performance.

Strengths

  • The fund’s overweight allocation to the consumer discretionary sector contributed the most toward performance. Standout sector contributors included autos and hotels because of strong consumer spending and vaccine developments renewing optimism about discretionary travel.
  • The strongest contributor to fund performance was Tesla Inc. The company reported by far its best quarterly profit and hit its target of half a million car sales for 2020. Additionally, the carmaker joined the S&P 500 on December 21 as one of the 10 most valuable companies in the index, yet another milestone to cap an outstanding year.

Weaknesses

  • The fund’s underweight allocation to the information technology sector was the largest drag on performance relative to the benchmark. This was a result of the fund’s investment model underweighting the sector.
  • The biggest detractor to fund performance was Coty Inc. The company is facing a tough turnaround from a pandemic-driven sales slide. It has tied its business to members of the Kardashian family, taking stakes in cosmetics brands owned by Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, which the company hopes will give it exposure to a younger audience. However, with the sale of Wella, sales numbers are unlikely to reach their former heights for some time, and investors remain skeptical of the turnaround effort.

Outlook

Capturing and catering to domestic luxury-goods shoppers and local preferences is set to take precedence in 2021, with e-commerce, digital and supply chains playing a greater role. The biggest challenges could emerge in the back half of the year, when growth gains are pinned on the return of tourism.

A full 2021 recovery is dependent on the success of the big luxury brands. Luxury-goods makers and brands with standout end-to-end e-commerce sites are well placed to outpace disruption and rebuild post-pandemic. Beyond own-brand sites, more third-party licensing with marketplaces and specialist platforms will be key. Chinese shoppers – the top luxury spenders -- are returning to stores with conviction, with online sales also rising. Cost-cutting and supply-chain management remain instrumental, while smaller peers have boosted liquidity. Luxury-goods makers can recoup much of the sales they lost in 2020 due to pandemic disruptions through spending discipline. Savings on sourcing and manufacturing as well as rent negotiations may help, while advertising investment can become more flexible and focused.

 

The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. It is not possible to invest in an index. 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.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily and should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings in the Global Luxury Goods Fund as a percentage of net assets as of 12/31/2020: Tesla Inc (4.26%), Coty Inc (1.27%).

Net Asset Value
as of 04/13/2021

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $6.52 0.03 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $12.84 0.23 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $5.07 0.01 China Region Fund USCOX $9.67 No Change Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $6.24 0.07 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $24.65 No Change Global Luxury Goods Fund USLUX $22.57 0.17 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.25 0.01 U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $2.00 No Change