Fund winners and losers in October 2020

by Hannah Smith from interactive investor |

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The majority of the best-performing funds in the month of October invest in the same part of the market.

October was a tough month for markets with some of the biggest falls since spring as Covid-19 fears took hold once more. China equity funds stood out as some of the best performers over the month, with impressive returns of 7% or more, while European equity funds dominated the list of the worst performers with falls of more than 8%.

Among the winners for the month were China funds from GAM, New Capital, Polar Capital and Baillie Gifford, with the top performer of these the GAM MultiStock China Evolution Equity, up 8.1%. However, the best performer overall was the GAM Star Alpha Technology fund, up nearly 11%, perhaps due to its lower weight to the US than other funds, and holding China’s Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) as its largest position. GAM was the best-performing fund group in October, with its funds occupying the top three positions.

Top 10 funds in October

Funds Return (%)
GAM Star Alpha Technology 10.74
GAM MultiStock China Evolution Equity 8.1
GAM Star China Equity 7.57
New Capital China Equity 7.27
Polar China Stars 6.99
New Capital Asia Future Leaders 6.93
Baillie Gifford China 6.81
LF Odey Absolute Return 6.58
Carmignac Portfolio Emergents  6.52
Guinness Sustainable Energy 6.4

Source: FE Analytics. Table returns 30 September 2020 to 31 October 2020.

The two standout themes among the bottom 10 funds for the month were gold and Europe. Ruffer Gold was the worst-performing fund over the month, down nearly 11%, while ES Gold & Precious Metals and MFM Junior Gold also struggled. Barings German Growth Trust, and European equity offerings from Oyster, Pictet, Barings, Fidelity, Liontrust and Jupiter were also in the bottom 10, all down 8-9%.

Ben Yearsley, director at Shore Financial Planning, who crunched the numbers, said: “In total, five China funds (plus an Asia and an emerging-markets fund) made the top 10 in October. At the foot of the table, seven European funds and three gold funds completed the worst 10. It wasn’t just developed Europe though, with Eastern/Emerging Europe also having a torrid time.”

Yearsley points to a “split between old and new” in October in terms of performance, with newer growth markets in China, Asia and emerging markets standing out during a turbulent month. “China has led the way many times in 2021 and will be one of the few economies to grow this year as their share of global GDP is increasing.

“The old world were the worst performers in October, with all three European sectors propping the tables up [and the] UK All Companies and UK Equity Income keeping them company in their misery.”

Yearsley notes that Germany’s DAX index was one of the worst-performing stock markets, falling more than 9% during the month. “Is it a lack of tech leaders or simply the new Covid-19 lockdown causing investors to exit? To be fair, European equities have had a strong bounce over the last six months so profit-taking could be another answer.” 

Bottom 10 funds in October

Funds Return (%)
Ruffer Gold -10.95
Barings German Growth Trust -9.93
ES Gold & Precious Metals -9.29
Oyster Europe -8.92
Pictet Emerging Europe -8.89
Barings Eastern Europe -8.88
Fidelity European Dynamic Growth -8.82
Liontrust European Opportunities -8.78
MFM Junior Gold -8.54
Jupiter European Income -8.43

Source: FE Analytics. Table returns 30 September 2020 to 31 October 2020.

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties. The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.

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