Small and mid-cap funds highlights in a dreary November

By Andrew Rickard | December 07 2015 09:48AM

Only 9 of the 42 indices tracked by Morningstar Research posted gains of 1% or more last month, and the top performers were small and mid-cap equity funds.

Morningstar released its preliminary report for November earlier this week, and it reveals that the U.S. Small/Mid Cap Equity category was the best performer, increasing by 2.9%. In fact, all of Morningstar's small-/mid-cap equity categories ranked well in November, with the Morningstar Global Small/Mid Cap Equity and Canadian Small/Mid Cap Equity fund indices tied for fourth place overall with a 1.3% increase, followed by Canadian Focused Small/Mid Cap Equity with a gain of 1.2%. Large-cap funds posted modest returns, with the Morningstar U.S. Equity Fund Index increasing by 1.9%, followed by the Global Equity and European Equity indices at 1.2% each.

The indices tied to natural resources were at the other end of the spectrum; the Precious Metals Equity, Natural Resources Equity, and Energy Equity categories dropped by 5.5%, 2.2%, and 1.6% respectively. "The losses were modest compared to the double-digit declines posted by the same indices in the third quarter of 2015," notes Morningstar.

Japan's Nikkei Index was up 4.9% in November, although results were middling in other parts of Asia, with the Asia Pacific Equity and Asia Pacific ex-Japan Equity fund indices only increasing by 0.7% and 0.6% respectively, while the Morningstar Emerging Markets Equity Fund Index fell by 1%. In Europe, Germany led the way with a 4.7% increase, although the Canadian dollar's 2.6% appreciation against the euro detracted from performance in the Eurozone. The loonie lost 1.9% against the U.S. dollar, however, and this helped to improve results for Canadian investors in US equity funds.

As for fixed-income, most of Morningstar's fund categories shifted less than a percentage point in November. "The best performer in this space was the Morningstar Canadian Inflation Protected Fixed Income Fund Index, up 0.8%, while the worst fixed-income performers were Preferred Share Fixed Income, which decreased 1.0% and High Yield Fixed Income, which declined 1.1%," reads the report.