Oversold stock markets rallied around the world today due to multiple factors, including declining interest rates and reduced geopolitical threats. I’d continue to be very cautious with committing new funds to equity investments until we can see if the rally can sustain itself. With that said, it is worth noting the emerging new trends in the healthcare, retail and the real estate sectors.
As an example, the chart shows that the Fidelity Real Estate Investment Portfolio Fund (FRESX) is turning increasingly bullish. The blue arrow on the chart shows the buy signal that was issued for FRESX by FidelitySignal.com on February 11. FRESX is now the top-performing Fidelity fund of the year based on total return.
During the last market correction in late July we observed that the Fidelity China Region Fund (FHKCX) held up the best during the sell off and may continue to do well in the fall. Indeed, FHKCX continued its bullish trend into September and now ranked the top-performing Fidelity international fund by FidelitySignal.com.
The earnings season often brings volatility for equities, but this summer the bullish trend stayed uninterrupted for the S&P 500 index. The benchmark Fidelity Spartan U.S. Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) has gained an impressive 5.85% return in the last three months:
The Fidelity Select Defense/Aerospace Fund (FSDAX) is the weakest performing Fidelity fund with a -2.63% year-to-date return. The chart below shows that the relative strength of this sector has been declining since the January correction. The chart pattern is negative, as well. We would avoid investing in this sector until FSDAX regains its momentum and moves above the 100-day moving average line.
Already low interest rates have prompted many market observers to call for the decline of interest rate sensitive investments when the New Year started in January, but the opposite happened. Long-term treasury yields dropped and continue to decline:
As Treasury bond yields declined and the economy showed signs of improvement, investors have started to seek out high-yielding corporate bonds. The Fidelity Capital and Income Fund (FAGIX) is an excellent way to participate in this trend:
Emerging market economies are known to experience cycles of boom and bust. The boom periods can be highly rewarding for investors by producing double or sometimes even triple digit gains, while the bust periods tend to make risk averse investors exit these markets and seek out low-risk investments.
Declining interest rates, market friendly Fed policies, slow and steady economic growth, increased risk tolerance by investors and renewed appetite for investments with outsized returns have created a new bull market in emerging market equities in late spring. Our favorite fund in this space is the Fidelity Emerging Markets Fund (FEMKX), which have produced stellar returns since its inception in 1990.
Value investing is a time-tested strategy that involves identifying undervalued stocks with potential to grow. While many investors enjoy the research that is needed to find promising stocks, mutual funds are also available to make it easier to follow this strategy.
One of the best value funds available to individual investors is the Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX). The low volatility market conditions have favored this investment approach since late 2012, and the management team at FDVLX continues to take full advantage of the stock picking opportunities in 2014.
The salient feature of the bullish uptrend of the U.S. equity market this summer is low volatility. Most sectors are up since the last correction in February. The benchmark Fidelity Spartan 500 Index Fund (FUSEX) has returned 6.56% in the last three months.
As energy prices have slowly increased since January, it is not surprising to see Fidelity funds investing in the natural resources sector dominating the list of the top 10 Fidelity funds (ranking is provided by FidelitySignal):
One of our favorite investments in this sector is the Fidelity Natural Resources Fund (FNARX). FNARX has provided an excellent 35.48% gain since the buy signal was issued on April 22, 2013. The top panel of the chart below shows that the relative strength of FNARX compared to the S&P 500 index has been increasing, which continues to make this mutual fund an attractive investment:
The prospect of worldwide economic recovery in 2015 is already making investors rethink their diversification strategy. Equity markets often anticipate economic changes 6 to 12 month into the future, as market participants are taking positions ahead of time.
One of the best ways for conservative investors to participate in the renewed interest in international markets is via the Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX). FDIVX invests 58% of its assets in Europe, but Japan and Emerging Markets carry large weightings, as well. FDIVX also invests 12% of its assets in the United States.
From the technical analysis perspective, the two-year chart of FDIVX shows a strong bullish trend that was interrupted by a correction only last June. For most of 2014 the fund moved sideways until the recent breakout to a new high:
After three years of underperformance, emerging market investments are starting to outperform the U.S. equity market. Renewed interest in emerging markets is driven by multiple factors, such as rich valuations in some U.S. equity sectors, increased appetite for higher returns and pro-market government policies in several emerging market countries. For example, the recent elections in India resulted in a more than 20% rally.
Fidelity has several excellent emerging markets funds. For investors looking for a diversified investment in the space, the Fidelity Emerging Markets Fund (FEMKX) is a popular choice. The long-term chart shows that FEMKX has not provided steady returns for more than three years, but appears to be turning the corner:
For conservative investors the Fidelity New Markets Income Fund (FNMIX) offers an excellent choice to invest in the international bond market. FNMIX currently yields 4.62%.
The FNMIX chart shows that, in addition to the respectable income, significant capital appreciation can be achieved by investing in the FNMIX, as well. FNMIX has appreciated 4.65% since the April 1 buy signal that was issued by FidelitySignal.com. We think that both the fundamental and the technical factors are in place to support further gains.
The Fidelity Convertible Securities Fund (FCVSX) seeks a high level of total return by investing in convertible and preferred securities. The total return is achieved through a combination of income (the current yield is 2.16%) and capital appreciation.
The chart shows that FCVSX underperformed the broader market from February to mid May. Our expectation is that renewed interest in convertible securities will help FCVSX to resume its uptrend and that FCVSX will prove to be a solid investment in the coming months.
The gradually increasing price of natural resources and the prospect of worldwide economic recovery have resulted in the sector becoming one of the top investment areas. Fidelity offers several excellent mutual funds to take advantage of this long-term trend. Here, we highlight three of the top ranked natural resources funds (see ranking).
The Fidelity Select Natural Gas Portfolio Fund (FSNGX) is one of the top performing Fidelity mutual fund in 2014 with a 14.17% year-to-date return. The blue arrow on top panel of the chart shows that FSNGX has outperformed the S&P 500 index since January:
The Fidelity Select Energy Services Fund (FSESX) also shows a similar, very bullish chart pattern:
For investors who are interested in broad diversification across of natural resources, the Fidelity Select Natural Resources Fund (FNARX) offers an excellent investment choice: