Market Sector Update
- Global equity markets continued to show strength in the first quarter of 2021. Developed markets outperformed
emerging markets. COVID-19 infection rates and vaccine penetration rates played a role in equity returns as investors
anticipate recovering economic activity based on COVID-19 containment. The MSCI ACWI Index was up 4.57%.
- In the spotlight was U.S. monetary policy and President Biden’s new administration’s fiscal packages, both lending
to increased investor expectations for inflation. The Biden administration signed a new $1.9 trillion stimulus plan into
place and presented a historic infrastructure bill. Between money already spent, approved, and likely to be approved
by the U.S. government, it appears the U.S. will top what was spent during World War II (inflation adjusted), but over a
much smaller timeframe. At the same time, the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) remains dovish, the global economy is
perceived to be spring loaded for a significant snap back, and supply chain disruptions are causing major shortages
across the globe.
- The U.S. dollar reversed course and appreciated against a major basket of currencies, primarily driven by yen and
euro weakness as the British pound appreciated. Bond yields spiked across the globe in anticipation of inflationary
pressure and the impact it may have on central bank policy. Commodities continued to rally, led by industrial metals
and oil, while precious metals declined.
- A passively managed index fund, the Fund delivered a positive return and performed in line with its benchmark for
- 10 of the 11 sectors delivered positive returns for the period, with the largest contributors to performance including
energy, financials and industrials. Consumer staples was the sector that produced negative performance for the
- From a country allocation standpoint, the Fund’s large allocations were to the U.S., Japan and China. The combined
weight of these allocations comprised 67.5% of the Fund’s total weight.
- This Fund seeks investment results that track the performance of the MSCI ACWI Index. Many international firms
have diversified operations with revenues from the U.S., as well as other countries. They are active in sectors as
diverse as energy, agriculture, financial services and consumer goods.
The opinions expressed are those of the Fund’s manager and are not meant as investment advice or to predict or project the future performance of any investment product. The opinions are current through March 31, 2021, are subject to change at any time based on market and other current conditions, and no forecasts can be guaranteed. This commentary is being provided as a general source of information and is not intended
as a recommendation to purchase, sell, or hold any specific security or to engage in any investment strategy. Investment decisions should always be made based on an investor’s specific objectives, financial needs,
risk tolerance and time horizon.Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
The MSCI ACWI Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed and emerging markets. The MSCI ACWI consists of 46
country indexes, comprising 23 developed and 23 emerging market country indexes. The developed market country indexes included are: Australia,Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,
Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The emerging market country indexes included
are: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Hungary,India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and United Arab
Emirates. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.
The Fund is a passively managed index fund designed to track the performance of its stated benchmark index. It does not invest in securities based on the managers' view of the investment merit of a particular
security or company, nor does it conduct conventional investment research or analysis or forecast market movement or trends, in managing the assets of the Fund. The Fund seeks to remain fully invested at all times
in securities that, in combination, provide exposure to its respective benchmark Index without regard to market conditions, trends or direction.
The impact of COVID-19, and other infectious illness outbreaks that may arise in the future, could adversely affect the economies of many nations or the entire global economy, individual issuers and capital markets
in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen. In addition, the impact of infectious illnesses in emerging market countries may be greater due to generally less established healthcare systems. Public health crises
caused by the COVID-19 outbreak may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries or globally. The duration of the COVID-19 outbreak and its effects cannot be determined
Risk factors: The value of the Fund's shares will change and you could lose money on your investment. International investing involves additional risks, including currency fluctuations. political or economic conditions
affecting the foreign country, and differences in accounting standards and foreign regulations. These risks are magnified in emerging markets. The Fund entails other risks, including imperfect benchmark correlation
and market price variance that may decrease performance. While the Fund attempts to track the performance of its stated index, there is no guarantee or assurance that the methodology used to create the Index
will result in the Fund achieving high, or even positive, returns. The Index may underperform, and the Fund could lose value, while other indices or measures of market performance increase in value. A number of
factors may affect the Fund's ability to achieve a high degree of correlation with the Index, and there is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve a high degree of correlation. Failure to achieve a high degree of
correlation may prevent the Fund from achieving its investment objective. The Fund's use of derivatives presents several risks, including the risk that these instruments may change in value in a manner that adversely
affects the Fund's net asset value and the risk that fluctuations in the value of the derivatives may not correlate with the reference instrument underlying the derivative. An investment in the Fund is not a bank deposit
and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. These and other risks are more fully described in the Fund's prospectus. Not all funds or fund classes
may be offered at all broker/dealers.