International Equity Index
as of March 31, 2014
Fund Commentary
The International Equity Index Fund returned 0.57% during the first quarter of 2014. The Fund’s benchmark, the MSCI EAFE® Index, returned 0.66%. International markets underperformed U.S. equities, as measured by the 1.81% return of the S&P 500® Index. Market returns were muted worldwide due in part to slowing economic data, the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tighter monetary policy, currency volatility in the emerging markets and the conflict in Ukraine.

The top-performing countries in the Index were Israel and New Zealand, which returned 18.48% and 16.36%, respectively. The bottom country-level performance came from Japan, Hong Kong and Austria, which returned -5.61%, -3.36% and -2.78%, respectively. Asia-Pacific stocks lagged during the quarter due to concerns regarding slowing growth in the Chinese economy. In addition, a nationwide value-added tax set to go into effect in Japan during April prompted worries about a possible slowdown in consumption for that country’s economy. Stocks in Europe generally delivered better returns, reflecting investor optimism regarding the region’s growth outlook, but the U.K. market underperformed.

From a sector standpoint, the best performance came from utilities, which returned 7.13% in the quarter, and health care, which returned 5.75%. Defensive stocks generally performed well during a period in which investors grew more concerned about potential risk factors. The worst-performing sectors were telecommunications services, consumer discretionary and financials, which returned -2.14%, -2.01% and -0.40%, respectively.
Investor Profile

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.

Philosophy
  • 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.
 
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