The Small Cap Core Fund posted a total return of 1.98% for the quarter, compared with 2.05% for the Funds benchmark, the Russell 2000® Index. Stock selection in the materials, consumer discretionary and utilities sectors primarily accounted for the Funds lagging results. Within each sector, underperformance was generally focused on a single industry chemicals in the materials sector, media in the consumer discretionary sector and independent power producers in the utilities sector. Stock selection contributed to Fund performance in the financials and industrials sectors. Lower-quality stocks generally outperformed the Index, as strong performance in May and June more than offset lagging results in April. The Funds underweight position in lower-quality stocks detracted from results. Meanwhile, micro-cap stocks, defined as stocks of companies with market caps of less than $150 million, outperformed the Index, which helped lift Fund performance. Overall, deeper valuation stocks generally outperformed, as did stocks with higher return on equity and profit margins.
We will continue to focus on providing diverse exposure to domestic small-cap stocks, including those within the smallest segments of the market, while maintaining a disciplined process to manage active risk and transaction costs.
If you're a more aggressive investor looking for the growth potential offered by the stocks of smaller companies this Fund may be right for you. The Fund employs a quantitative-managed, core style investment approach. It is intended for equity investors with an above-average tolerance for volatility who want to diversify their investments and plan to invest for the long term without concern for current income.
- Follow an active quantitative, core equity strategy to select stocks based on a statistical analysis of historical relationships among small-cap characteristics, stock prices and market capitalization ranges.
- Use a screening process designed to reduce exposure to stocks with negative fundamental indicators.
- Maintain a highly diversified portfolio consistent with small-cap core benchmarks, in an effort to reduce the risks associated with any specific stock or industry.