Interactive Investor

The top 20 funds so far this year

11th April 2022 15:04

Douglas Chadwick from ii contributor

Natural resource strategies are thriving as inflation and interest rates rise, Saltydog Investor points out.   

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In the last few months, there has been a shift in the economic landscape. In January, nearly all the major stock markets around the world fell as countries struggled with the Omicron variant of Covid-19. It also became clear that restarting world economies would not be straightforward. Complex supply chains have been disrupted and will take time to put back in place.

There were more losses in February. The table below shows most indices falling. Only the Shanghai Composite and the Brazilian Ibovespa made gains.

Stock market indices

Index 2021 Full Year January 2022 February 2022 March 2022 1st to 8th April 2022 Year-to-date
FTSE 100 14.3% 1.1% -0.1% 0.8% 2.0% 3.9%
FTSE 250 14.6% -6.6% -3.9% 0.4% 0.1% -9.8%
Dow Jones Ind Ave 18.7% -3.3% -3.5% 2.3% 0.1% -4.5%
S&P 500 26.9% -5.3% -3.1% 3.6% -0.9% -5.8%
NASDAQ 21.4% -9.0% -3.4% 3.4% -3.6% -12.4%
DAX 15.8% -2.6% -6.5% -0.3% -0.9% -10.1%
CAC40 28.9% -2.2% -4.9% 0.0% -1.7% -8.5%
Nikkei 225 4.9% -6.2% -1.8% 4.9% -3.0% -6.3%
Hang Seng -14.1% 1.7% -4.6% -3.2% -0.6% -6.5%
Shanghai Composite 4.8% -7.6% 3.0% -6.1% 0.0% -10.7%
Sensex 22.0% -0.4% -3.0% 4.1% 1.5% 2.0%
Ibovespa -11.9% 7.0% 0.9% 6.1% -1.4% 12.9%
RTSI 15.0% -10.1% -34.7% 9.0% 5.7% -32.3%

Data source: Morningstar. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

In March, we saw markets start to recover and most went up – but unfortunately, April has been more mixed. So far this year, the best-performing market index in our table has been the Brazilian Ibovespa. It has gone up by nearly 13%, while most others have made losses.

Apart from the war in Ukraine, the main influence on markets has been rising inflation and the response of central banks. Energy prices have soared as have certain foods, metals and other commodities. Some commentators are suggesting that we may be entering a new commodity super-cycle.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 6.2% in the 12 months to February 2022, up from 5.5% in January. In his Spring sSatement, Rishi Sunak said that the Office for Budget Responsibility thought inflation would average 7.4% this year.

The Bank of England has now increased interest rates three times since last December, and they may still go higher.

In the US, the February CPI year-on-year figure was 7.9%, the highest it has been since 1982. Last month, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since 2018. They increased the rate only by 0.25% but are expected to put it up several more times this year. They could raise it by 0.5% next time. 

In the last quarter of 2021, the best-performing sectors came from the developed markets, with North America at the top, followed by global equity income. Funds investing in gold and precious metals also featured in our list of leading strategies during the final three months of the year.

In the first three months of this year, the energy and commodity funds have come out on top, along with funds investing in Latin America. Schroder ISF Global Energy is at the top of the table with a 33.7% three-month return.

Top 20 funds in the first quarter

Name Jan % Return Feb % Return Mar % Return 3-month return
Schroder ISF Global Energy 13.6 1.3 16.2 33.7
JPM Natural Resources 5.9 7.2 13.6 28.8
Liontrust Latin America 4.6 6.7 15.1 28.6
abrdn Latin American Equity 5.1 4.7 15.6 27.3
TB Guinness Global Energy 14.1 0.5 10.9 27.3
BlackRock Natural Resources 5.7 4.8 14.2 26.5
Invesco Emerging Markets ex China 5.0 4.5 13.5 24.6
Threadneedle Latin America 0.7 4.8 15.6 22.0
SVS Sanlam Global Gold & Resources -6.1 14.7 11.5 20.1
Ninety One Global Gold -9.2 17.1 12.3 19.4
Barings Global Agriculture -0.9 3.2 14.6 17.1
Stewart Inv Latin America 5.7 0.6 8.5 15.4
LF Ruffer Gold -6.9 13.6 7.6 13.8
LF Macquarie Global Infrastructure Securities -0.2 1.6 9.8 11.3
VT Argonaut Absolute Return 5.5 3.8 1.4 11.0
Fidelity American Special Situations -1.1 2.9 8.4 10.3
FTF ClearBridge Global Infrastructure -1.8 1.1 10.7 10.0
BlackRock Gold and General -6.6 10.1 6.3 9.4
Invesco UK Opportunities 3.6 1.5 3.6 8.9
BlackRock US Opportunities -1.2 3.1 5.9 7.8

Data source: Morningstar. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

There are five funds in our latest table that were also in the top 20 for the fourth quarter of 2021. They are the VT Argonaut Absolute Returns fund and the four “gold” funds: SVS Sanlam Global Gold and Natural Resources, Ninety One Global Gold, LF Ruffer Gold, and BlackRock Gold and General.

Our two demonstration portfolios reflect this change in momentum. All the funds we were invested in at the end of last year were sold during January and early February. Since then, we have been sitting on significant levels of cash and have made a few new investments. It probably will not come as a surprise that we are already holding a number of funds that feature in this table. They are Schroder ISF Global Energy, JPM Natural Resources, Liontrust Latin America, TB Guinness Global Energy, and Fidelity American Special Situations.

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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.