For the month of August, Morningstar’s best-performing fund index was the one that tracks the precious metals equity category. That index increased 7.7%, following four consecutive months of negative performance when it lost 7.2%, says Morningstar Research.
Meanwhile, the worst-performing fund category for August was energy equity. That fund index decreased 4.5%, says Morningstar, adding that other equity categories in the red included financial services, natural resources and Canadian small/mid cap equity. Those were down 1%, 0.8% and 0.4%, respectively.
Domestic equity funds were flat overall in August. The Morningstar Canadian Equity Fund Index increased 0.4% for the month, as the market was weighed down by the energy sector — still, the benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index had a total return of 0.7% in August, with two of the biggest three sectors (the materials and financial services sectors) posting positive results.
South of the border, Morningstar says its U.S. equity fund index underperformed the S&P 500, which posted a total return of 0.6% versus the index’s 0.2% increase. Currency effects favoured Canadian investors in the U.S. in August, says Morningstar, as the U.S. dollar appreciated against the loonie.
The Morningstar Greater China Equity Fund Index was the second-best performer of the month at 3.9% — in July, it was the best performer at 3.5%. The main drivers of the index’s performance were strong gains on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges, and appreciation of the Chinese currency relative to the loonie, says Morningstar.
Morningstar Research’s preliminary August 2017 performance data for its 44 Morningstar Canada Fund Indexes finds 35 of the 44 fund indexes measures increased during the month. Five increased by more than 2%, while eight of the nine fund indexes that had negative results were down by 1% or less.
Other highlights from the performance report include:
- Both the Canadian Focused Equity and Canadian Dividend & Income Equity Fund Index were up 0.1%.
- Funds in the emerging markets equity category benefited from strength in Greater China, with an increase of 2.1%. So, too, did funds in the Asia Pacific equity (1.2%) and Asia Pacific ex-Japan equity categories (1.1%).
- Most fixed-income fund categories ended the month in positive territory. The best-performing fund indices for that asset class were the ones that track the Canadian long-term fixed income and Canadian inflation-protected fixed income categories, up 2.9% and 2.1%, respectively.