Funds invested in the US, in technology and in gold have topped the charts for the best performers of 2020 at the end of its tumultuous first six months.
While the massive global markets sell-off in March was indiscriminate, the recovery was less so. Sectors deemed vulnerable to Covid and the changing commercial landscape it is forming were left behind while technology, biotech and healthcare surged ahead.
Meanwhile, investors also fled to safe-haven assets like gold and government bonds.
Stock markets in some countries – like the US – have fared better than others in the aftermath of the Covid crash, just as some sectors, like technology, have surged ahead while others have suffered from the economic impact of the virus.
Asian countries that seemed either relatively unscathed or emerged quickly from lockdown benefited. Despite its runaway number of cases and its Government’s unpredictable response, the United States’ stock market staged the most dramatic of all recoveries – as reflected in the best funds lists below.
Fund managers have proved their worth, with active funds doing well in the strongly recovering US market. But less so in the UK, whose stock market has struggled in comparison to the US and Asia, and whose active funds have done less to protect investors from the volatility.
Laura Suter, personal finance analyst AJ Bell observes that over the six months the FTSE 100 index is down 17 per cent, the FTSE All Share down a similar 18 per cent and the FTSE 250 index of smaller companies down just over 21 per cent.
‘In comparison the rest of the world is looking brighter, with the S&P 500 market down a more muted 2.9 per cent, the Nikkei 225 down 5.8 per cent and the SSE down 2.2 per cent,’ she adds. ‘The MSCI World index of global companies has delivered a much less dramatic fall of 0.2 per cent over that time.’
The sectarian nature of the global recovery in equities is laid bare in the best and worst performing funds.
|Best performing funds||Performance||Worst performing funds||Performance|
|LF Ruffer Gold||56.0%||ASI UK Recovery Equity||-42.5%|
|Baillie Gifford American||54.1%||LF Equity Income||-42.4%|
|Morgan Stanley US Growth||53.1%||HSBC GIF Brazil Equity||-42.1%|
|Matthews China Small Companies||52.3%||Schroder ISF Global Energy||-39.7%|
|LF Access Long Term Global Growth||47.8%||The VT Oxeye Hedged Income Option||37.7%|
|Morgan Stanley US Advantage||38.0%||Guinness – Global Energy||36.7%|
|MFM Junior Gold||36.4%||Alquity Latin America||35.6%|
|Baillie Gifford Global Discovery||35.9%||Brown Advisory Latin American||35.5%|
|ES – Gold and Precious Metals||34.7%||JPM – Brazil Equity||35.5%|
|Baillie Gifford Positive Change||34.3%||MFS Meridian – Latin American||34.7%|
|Source: AJ Bell/FE fundinfo. Performance is total return 01 Jan 2020 to 30 Jun 2020|
The data from AJ Bell (above) differs slightly to that from Willis Owen’s (below) as the former shows the fund’s performance…