Jupiter US Smaller Companies has announced interim results for the six months ended 31 December 2014. Over this period the fund underperformed its benchmark, the Russell 2000 index, by 6% – the NAV rose b y 4.7% vs. a 10.7% increase in the Index (in Sterling terms). The report says the main reason for this was that the market was led by high risk areas such as biotechnology. In this environment the fund is likely to underperform given its conservative investment style.
The benchmark index rose by just 1% in dollar terms but the US dollar was quite strong vs. Sterling which boosted returns. The statement says that the portfolio’s exploration and production stocks suffered badly from the weakness in oil prices. Goodrich Petroleum and Resolute Energy were the worst contributors. In addition, Conn’s, the Texas-based retailer was another poor performer as the company was slow to get to grips with customer credit problems. Not holding biotechnology stocks also detracted from relative performance. On the positive side, America’s Car-Mart, the small town retailer of used cars, which provides its own credit, performed well. It benefited from a pullback in lending by banks to car buyers. Bally Technologies, a supplier of gaming machines and software, received an agreed takeover bid from Scientific Games.
JUS : Jupiter US Smaller let down by oil E&P exposure