What happened this quarter (3 months to 30 June 2020)
International equities staged an impressive turnaround in the second quarter of 2020 as improved sentiment around the economic impact of COVID-19 saw countries slowly begin reopening their economies. The rally saw most indices we track record double-digit gains. In the US, share markets had a strong quarter, with the tech sector continuing to lead the way. The NASDAQ 100, a benchmark of US technology stocks, traded to a new all-time high, finishing the quarter up 30%.
Elsewhere, the S&P 500 recorded its best quarterly gain in more than 20 years, rising 20%.
Bonds had a relatively quiet second quarter of the year as a mild improvement on the COVID-19 front, coupled with unprecedented levels of monetary stimulus, kept interest rates near multi-year lows.
In the US, the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged, but said it would begin buying corporate bonds directly from companies to alleviate cash flow and other financing concerns. In New Zealand, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) said at its 13 May meeting it would nearly double its quantitative easing programme, announcing it would buy up to another $27 billion in bonds over the next 12 months. The RBNZ added that it expects the Official Cash Rate to remain at 0.25% until early 2021.
Against the backdrop of heavy monetary stimulus, bond funds recorded modest gains over the quarter.
Given the mild improvement in economic sentiment, we hold a small overweight position in international equities, as we anticipate global growth will begin to pick up slowly over the second half of the year.
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How the fund has performed over time
The fund aims to achieve (after the fund charge and before tax) over the long term a moderate yearly return allowing for moderate movements of value up and down including occasional negative yearly returns.
The graph below shows the value of a $1,000 investment made at the time the fund launched.