The United States, weighted at approximately 50% of the Index, returned 2.36% during the quarter. Denmark, New Zealand, Ireland and Portugal delivered the best returns, gaining 23.34%, 16.76%, 11.63% and 11.32%, respectively. Japan, which makes up nearly 10% of the Index, returned -5.05%, while the United Kingdom, which also accounts for about 10% of the Index, returned -2.24%.
Global developed markets, as a group, were generally flat-to-slightly positive in the first quarter, and the United States outperformed the international markets. In January, several major headlines contributed to negative returns, including disappointing economic data, the Federal Reserves tapering of its stimulative quantitative easing policy and continued difficulties in several emerging markets. Investors grew more optimistic in February, as corporate earnings improved and central banks in several large economies continued to provide monetary support. In early March, investors faced the new challenge posed by potential Russian involvement in Ukraine. Russian troops entered the Crimea region of Ukraine, which Russia subsequently annexed. These events resulted in modest market volatility, as western governments prepared sanctions against various Russian entities and individuals. However, stocks subsequently recovered when Vladimir Putin announced that the country had no plans to annex further regions and some Russian troops pulled back.
If you are an investor who wants to invest in a broad, diversified set of large- and mid-cap developed global companies in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, that are selected based on sector ranking of environmental, social and government factors, you may find this Fund attractive.
- Seek to duplicate the investment composition and overall performance of the stocks included in the MSCI World ESG Index.
- The Index is a diversified, sector neutral global benchmark constructed using environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.
- Sector and regional neutrality is designed to help the Index outperform other social responsibility and sustainability indices.