The top-performing countries were Germany, which returned 13.28%, and Finland, which returned 11.82%. The bottom country performances came from New Zealand and Australia, with returns of -4.09% and -0.87%, respectively. From a sector standpoint, the top performance in the quarter came from telecommunications services and information technology, which returned 11.58% and 8.11%, respectively. The bottom-performing sectors were utilities and materials, which returned 1.55% and 3.00%, respectively.
The fourth quarter saw solid gains for developed market equities around the world, which significantly outpaced those in emerging markets. Japan is implementing extraordinary measures to stimulate its economy, while Europe continued to show signs that it is emerging from a recession. However, U.S. equities outperformed their international counterparts, partly driven by positive market reaction to monetary and fiscal policy activity in Washington. The Federal Reserve's assurance of continued monetary stimulus boosted U.S. equities into the start of the fourth quarter. This positive performance was sustained through October despite a fiscal stalemate and a government shutdown. A temporary budget deal was reached late in October, and a longer-term budget agreement was reached in December, reducing fiscal uncertainty. Janet Yellen was nominated as the next Fed Chair, and her testimony before Congress assured markets that policy would remain appropriately accommodative.
If you're a moderate risk investor seeking competitive long-term investment returns through a broadly diversified portfolio, this Fund may be appropriate for you. It offers a high degree of relative predictability in an uncertain stock market by seeking investment results, before expenses, approximating the aggregate price and dividend performance of the securities included in the MSCI EAFE Index.
- Passively managed, the Fund seeks to duplicate the investment composition and overall performance of the stocks included in the MSCI EAFE® Index.
- The MSCI EAFE® Index consists of 21 developed countries, primarily in Europe and Asia.
- Use proprietary quantitative techniques designed to minimize trading costs.