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Mutual Fund News

Tough year made worse by dollar's gains

What We're Looking At

This is the final instalment of our week-long look at how the mutual funds that were massacred last year have done in 2009. Today, it's global, international and U.S. equity funds.

Today's Screen

Funds in the three categories with assets of $20-million or more were ranked according to the size of their losses in 2008. To see how each fund has rebounded, we've displayed the return for the year through Nov. 26. For a longer-term view on the performance of these funds, we have included five-year quartile numbers. Quartiles divide funds in a category into four groups - first quartile is best, fourth is worst.

What We Found

Shockingly bad 2008 numbers here. I'm among the many who have urged investors to invest globally, and I have to say the results have been terrible. Mea culpa. If you've been reading this series all week, you'll know that we have looked at Canadian equity, balanced and dividend funds. None of these categories had more big losers in 2008, and none have been more inconsistent this year.

On one hand, we have dramatic rebounds from the likes of Dynamic Global Value, up by virtually the same amount this year as it lost last year. That's a great turnaround, but it has to be noted that $100 invested in this fund at the start of 2008 was still worth only $81 as of late last month.

And there's Desjardins American Equity Growth, AGF Aggressive Global Stock and Dynamic Power American Growth, which have captured very little of the sweeping stock market gains of 2009.

One explanation for a lame performance by a U.S. or global equity fund this year is the rise in the Canadian dollar against its U.S. counterpart. Are your funds using currency hedging to eliminate the impact of the dollar's moves? If not, you're getting extra grief in today's markets. Here's an example: Dynamic Power American Growth is up 5.6 per cent this year, while a currency-neutral version of this fund is up 16.7 per cent.

By the way, global exposure hasn't worked out at all for investors, but you still need some. The year will come when the returns of global funds crush Canadian equity funds. I hope I live to see it (I'm 47).

Global, International & US Equity Funds as of Nov. 26, 2009
Assets ($-mil)Latest% rtn% rtnQuartile
Fund name (as of Oct. 31)MER2008Nov. 26Oct. 31Category
Dynamic Power Amer Currency Neutral22.82.86-57.216.7U.S. Equity
Acker Finley Select US Value 50-A26.91.80-54.539.44U.S. Equity
Dynamic Power Global Growth Cl336.02.48-47.222.41Global Equity
DMP Power Global Growth Class0.02.75-47.121.5Global Equity
CI Value Trust Corporate Class287.92.58-46.616.94U.S. Equity
Desjardins American Equity Growth266.92.55-46.67.44U.S. Equity
Brandes U.S. Equity41.82.57-46.015.64U.S. Equity
Mutual Beacon112.42.56-44.820.34Global Equity
Dynamic Power American Growth284.82.41-44.15.61U.S. Equity
RBC O'Shaughnessy U.S. Value771.81.47-44.021.23U.S. Equity
Dynamic Global Value Fund680.82.45-43.844.41Global Equity
Manulife Global Value Class38.72.81-43.212.84Global Equity
TD NASDAQ Index-I66.80.96-43.241.41U.S. Equity
Manulife Global Opportunities Class79.82.70-43.157.7Global Equity
AGF Aggressive Global Stock47.93.10-43.115.11Global Equity
Claymore US Fundamental Index ETF67.30.62-42.629.5U.S. Equity
TD International Index Curr Neut-I61.30.96-42.512.62International Equity
TD Global Multi-Cap-I350.92.52-42.417.8Global Equity
PH&N Currency-Hedged Oversea Equ-D48.71.58-42.331.2International Equity
RBC U.S. Equity Currency Neutral56.62.01-42.115.4U.S. Equity
AIC Value81.82.60-42.010.54U.S. Equity
Investors Int'l Small Cap Class-A91.02.77-42.039.81International Equity
Altamira Intl Currency Neutral Idx76.80.57-41.915.82International Equity
GBC International Growth98.92.14-41.733.81International Equity
IA Clarington Global Dividend-T698.72.70-40.810.8Global Equity
CI Harbour Foreign Eq Corp Class536.22.35-40.832.93Global Equity
iShares CDN MSCI EAFE Index939.30.15-40.616.33International Equity
RBC U.S. Index Currency Neutral218.10.69-40.519.52U.S. Equity
iShares CDN S&P 500 Index1,150.90.15-40.322.62U.S. Equity
Source: Globe Investor

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