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Cheers and tears: the 20 best and worst funds of the first half

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A tumultuous June may have taken the edge off many of the sizeable gains made by funds in the first half of 2013, but it was not enough to derail performance completely.

Figures from Morningstar analysing the performance of 2,439 UK-registered funds in its investment universe show the average fund gained a healthy 7.2% in the first half of 2013. But, as ever, the biggest winners and losers exhibited a much wider range of returns.

The 20 top funds

Topping the pile of best performing funds were two Japanese equity offerings. Investors’ approval of the country’s ‘Abenomics’ stimulus programme may have moderated after equities shed 20% from their late-May peaks, but the Nikkei remains up over 30% year-to-date.

Legg Mason’s Japan equity fund, renowned for its high beta plays, topped the list of UK-registered funds with a 53% gain, having been up as much as 73% by mid-May.

That was followed by Invesco Perpetual’s Smaller Companies offering, but it was not just Japanese portfolios that flourished in H1.

Another top performer that catches the eye is the Guinness Alternative Energy fund, which returned 41% over the past six months. The mainstream energy and resources sectors may remain firmly out of favour, but the Guinness portfolio’s focus on renewables has served it well since the start of the year.

Elsewhere, biotechnology had another strong start to the year, with AXA Framlington and Polar Capital the two fund houses to have best exploited this trend.


Top 20 Return (%) Rank Manager
Legg Mason Japan Equity A 53.75 1 Hideo Shiozumi
IP Japanese Smaller Companies 43.06 2 Osamu Tokuno
Guinness Alternative Energy C 41.09 3 Edward Guinness
Legg Mason Capital Mgmt Opp A Inc (A) $ 39.8 4 Samantha McLemore
AXA Framlington Biotech R Acc 35.8 5 Linden Thomson
FF&P US Small Cap Equity B Inc 33.75 6 Team
Baillie Gifford Japan Small Co A 33.65 7 John MacDougall
Baillie Gifford Japanese A 33.5 8 Sarah Whitley, Matthew Brett
Old Mutual Japanese Equity Acc 31.97 9 Ian Heslop & Team
CF Ruffer Japanese O 31.54 10 Kentaro Nishida
BGF Japan Small & MidCap Opps A4RF GBP 31.12 11 Kei Fujibe
Polar Capital Healthcare Opps R USD 31.08 12 Gareth Powell, Dan Mahony
Baillie Gifford Global Discovery A Acc 31.01 13 Douglas Brodie
Pictet Biotech-P dy GBP 30.38 14 Michael Sjostrom
JPM Japan A Acc 30.01 15 Shoichi Mizusawa,Nicholas Weindling,Naohiro Ozawa
GLG Japan CoreAlpha Retail Acc 29.8 16 Stephen Harker
JPM US Smaller Companies A Acc 29.19 17 Eytan Shapiro,Chris Jones
AXA Framlington Japan R Inc 29.03 18 Chisako Hardie
Fidelity Instl Japan 28.69 19 Yoshimi Hashimoto
BGF Japan Value A4RF GBP 28.27 20 Rob Weatherston

Source: Morningstar

Out of favour – the 20 worst funds so far this year

Last month saw few asset classes escape unscathed, and for those sectors already out of favour it was a case of going from bad to worse.

The price of gold, for example, saw steep losses amid concerns over a winding down of quantitative easing in the US.

With the precious metal suffering its worst quarter since 1920, it is no surprise to find seven precious metal portfolios occupying the bottom spaces of the UK fund universe in H1.

Having struggled throughout 2012, resources funds have seen no respite so far this year, with high profile plays including JPM Natural Resources and the BlackRock BGF World Mining fund among the biggest losers.

And though it was China that bore the brunt of investors’ emerging market worries towards the end of H1, India and Brazil suffered more notably over the six-month period as a whole as BRIC funds fell firmly out of favour.

Bottom 20 Return (%) Rank Manager    
HSBC GIF Indian Equity A Inc -13.47 2420 Sanjiv Duggal    
HSBC Capital Protected 10 Retl -13.8 2421 N/A    
HSBC GIF Brazil Equity A Inc -13.88 2422 Natalia Kerkis    
Jupiter India -15.32 2423 Avinash Vazirani    
Hexam Global Em Mkt A -15.6 2424 Bryan Collings    
Templeton Global Emerging Markets A Acc -15.97 2425 Mark Mobius    
SF t1ps Smaller Companies Growth A -16.46 2426 Peter Webb    
First State Global Resources A Acc -19.04 2427 Joanne Warner    
S&W ILEX Trust Acc -19.57 2428 Team    
Thesis Australian Natural Res GBP Inc -24.63 2429 Myles Campion    
JPM Natural Resources A Acc -26.67 2430 Neil Gregson    
JPM Global Mining A Net Acc -29.36 2431 Neil Gregson    
BGF World Mining A4RF GBP -30.5 2432 Evy Hambro, Catherine Raw    
Investec Global Gold A Acc Net GBP -40.56 2433 Daniel Sacks, Bradley George    
Smith & Williamson Glbl Gold & Resources -42.26 2434 Robert Lyon, Ani Markova    
BlackRock Gold and General A Inc -43.31 2435 Evy Hambro    
SF t1ps Smaller Companies Gold A -45.67 2436 Peter Webb    
WAY Charteris Gold Portfolio I Acc -49.79 2437 Ian Williams    
CF Ruffer Baker Steel Gold O -56.16 2438 David Baker, Trevor Steel    
Junior Gold C -59.03 2439 Angelos Damaskos    

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