2019: the best and worst performers as we reach mid-year

The first half of 2019 has generally been a positive one for investors, with every fund sector reporting positive returns on average*. 

Led once again by North American (21.27%*) and Technology (20.55%*) funds, all asset classes have risen in value – most rallying quite strongly after a difficult end to 2018.

Even the 'worst' performing fixed income sector - IA UK Gilts - was up 5.88%*, which is an exceptional return for UK government bond funds.

The most disappointing area was perhaps Japanese equities. The IA Japan and IA Japanese Smaller Companies sectors returned 8.49%* and 7.49%* respectively – still a decent return, but lagging other equity sectors by some margin. Targeted Absolute Return funds were also underwhelming, with an average return of 2.77%*.

The best performing individual fund was Brown Advisory US Smaller Companies (30.30%*), closely followed by Threadneedle Pan European Focus (30.07%*) and TM Cavendish AIM (29.95%*).

In contrast, the worst performing fund was VT Garraway Absolute Equity, which fell some 36.14%*. BMO Global equity Market Neutral was the second worst performing fund, losing 16.69%*. 

Mid-year resolutions

Commenting on the findings, Darius McDermott, managing director of Chelsea Financial Services, said: “With the exception of Japan, those asset classes that fell furthest at the end of 2018 have risen the most so far in 2019: namely the US and technology.

“In Europe, Russian equities have done best - possibly due to the world focusing its attention on China and Iran, coupled with a steadily improving oil price.

“As we head into the second half of the year, 'new resolutions' will be key to what continues to perform well: resolution of trade wars would help Asia and Japan rebound, while resolution of Brexit would help the UK. Whether we get those resolutions, especially in that time scale, remains to be seen."

Sector mid-year returns*

Rank Sector Mid-year returns
1 IA North American Smaller Companies 21.27%
2 IA Technology & Telecommunications 20.55%
3 IA North America 19.13%
4 IA Global 16.90%
5 IA Europe excluding UK 16.13%
6 IA Europe including UK 15.99%
7 IA China/Greater China 15.33%
8 IA European Smaller Companies 15.30%
9 IA Property Other 14.81%
10 IA Global Equity Income 14.29%

Top ten performing funds*

Position Fund Mid-year returns
1 Brown Advisory US Smaller Companies 30.30%
2 Threadneedle Pan European Focus 30.07%
3 TM Cavendish AIM 29.95%
4 Smith & Williamson Artificial Intelligence 29.54%
5 Baillie Gifford American 29.09%
6 Kames Global Sustainable Equity 28.90%
7 Legg Mason IF Martin Currie European Unconstrained 28.27%
8 Franklin US Opportunities 28.17%
9 Jupiter International Financials 27.67%
10 Morgan Stanley US Advantage 27.62%

Worst ten performing funds*

Position Fund  Mid-year returns
1 VT Garraway Absolute Equity -36.14%
2 BMO Global Equity Market Neutral -16.69%
3 LF Woodford Equity Income -11.98%
4 Standard Life Investments UK Equity Recovery -11.89%
5 LF Woodford Income Focus -8.18%
6 LF Miton UK Smaller Companies -5.05%
7 Merian Global Equity Absolute Return -5.01%
8 Jupiter Absolute Return -4.38%
9 MI Downing UK Micro-Cap Growth -3.88%
10 Barings Korea Trust -3.75%

*Source: FE Analytics, All IA sectors and funds available on the Aegon platform, total returns in sterling, 1 January 2019 to 24 June 2019.

Past performance – especially very short term performance - is not a reliable guide to future returns. You may not get back the amount originally invested, and tax rules can change over time. Darius' views are his own and do not constitute financial advice.

Published on 26/06/2019