Effective November 27, 2021, the deferred sales charge and low load sales charge purchase options will no longer be available for purchase on Sun Life Global Investments mutual funds. Switches between funds of the same sales charge purchase option will be permitted.

JPM International Equity

Fund commentary | Q2 2021

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Opinions and commentary provided by JPMorgan Asset Management.

Market review

Global equities continued their strong run during the second quarter, supported by the vaccine rollout and further re-opening of economies from COVID-19 related restrictions. Even though concerns of higher interest rates and the more contagious delta strain of the novel coronavirus affected investor sentiment, markets took solace in the strong economic data releases and a robust quarterly earnings season. In the US, economic growth as measured by real GDP, accelerated during the first quarter. Private sector firms signaled an unprecedented expansion in business activity, as further easing of restrictions boosted new orders. In the Eurozone, business activity grew at a faster rate in the second quarter as economies continued to ease restrictions following improving vaccination rates. Additionally, the European Central Bank (ECB) expects inflation to remain below its target in the foreseeable future and therefore kept its policy unchanged. Crude oil prices rallied in view of the decline in US inventories, strong factory activity data from China and a recovery in demand from western economies. Among equities, investors preferred growth stocks over value, and developed markets outperformed emerging markets over the quarter.

Portfolio review

The portfolio underperformed its benchmark in the second quarter of 2021. At a sector level, stock selection in consumer discretionary and financials detracted from performance, while stock selection in communication services and consumer staples contributed to performance. At the region level, stock selection in Canada and emerging markets detracted from performance, while an underweight to Japan and stock selection in the Pacific Rim contributed to performance.

Outlook

A pickup in vaccination rates is fueling a reopening trend globally, with a surge in growth, reflecting pent-up demand from the pandemic and massive fiscal stimulus. Existing vaccines seem effective against the new COVID-19 variants as well, indicating that a broader recovery should continue across the major developed economies through the second half of 2021. Looking ahead, earnings growth should be strong in 2021, but could slow as profit margins come under pressure next year from higher wages, rising commodity prices and increasing corporate taxes. However, for now, a combination of booming demand and surging productivity continues to bolster profits. Cyclically geared markets, sectors and companies, which have been in the eye of the storm, are likely to benefit, but it is crucial to differentiate cyclical from structural headwinds and tailwinds as the recovery takes shape. 

Significant impacts on performance

Contributors

+  Adidas

The German apparel company, contributed to returns. The company delivered solid quarterly results beating estimates on both revenue and net income. Management upgraded its sales guidance for the full year and also expected a significant acceleration fueled by an array of innovative product releases over the year..

+  Lonza

The Swiss chemicals and biotechnology company, contributed to returns. The company announced that it will be expanding its API development and manufacturing site in China. Markets also reacted positively to the company’s partnership with Moderna, the American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, to support production of COVID-19 vaccines.

Detractors

▬    Canadian National Railway

The Canadian freight railway detracted from returns. The stock experienced volatility through the quarter as the bidding war for Kansas City Southern (KCS) gained momentum, then eventually came to an end when KCS decided to move forward with CN’s offer. Ongoing changes to the proposed deal continue to add to the stock’s decline.

▬    Sony Group

The Japanese technology, media and gaming company detracted from returns. The stock fell as investors sold off heavyweight Japanese technology stocks after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled a rate hike earlier than expected, citing an improved outlook situation amid the vaccine rollout.

Fund performance

Compound returns %1 Since inception2 1 year Q2
Sun Life JPMorgan International Equity Fund - Series A 7.3 18.1 2.1
Sun Life JPMorgan International Equity Fund - Series F 8.6 19.5 2.4
MSCI ACWI ex US Index 6.9 23.4 3.9

¹Returns for periods longer than one year are annualized. Data as of June 30, 2021.

²Partial calendar year. Returns are for the period from the fund’s inception date of July 20, 2018 to December 31, 2018.

Views expressed are those of JPMorgan Asset Management (Canada) Inc., sub-advisor to select Sun Life mutual funds for which 

SLGI Asset Management Inc. acts as portfolio manager. Views expressed regarding a particular company, security, industry or market sector should not be considered an indication of trading intent of any mutual funds managed by SLGI Asset Management Inc. These views are not to be considered as investment advice nor should they be considered a recommendation to buy or sell. This commentary is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to provide specific individual financial, investment, tax or legal advice. Information contained in this commentary has been compiled from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made with respect to its timeliness or accuracy. 

This commentary may contain forward-looking statements about the economy and markets, their future performance, strategies or prospects or events and are subject to uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are speculative in nature and cannot be relied upon.

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Investors should read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.  The indicated rates of return are the historical annual compounded total returns including changes in security value and reinvestment of all distributions and do not take into account sales, redemption, distribution or other optional charges or income taxes payable by any security holder that would have reduced returns. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. 

While Series A and Series F securities have the same reference portfolio, any difference in performance between these series is due primarily to differences in management fees and operating fees. The management fee for Series A securities also includes the trailing commission, while Series F securities does not. Series A securities of the fund are available for purchase to all investors, while Series F securities are only available to investors in an eligible fee-based or wrap program with their registered dealer. Investors in Series F securities may pay a separate fee-based account fee that is negotiated with and payable to their registered dealer. 

Sun Life Global Investments is a trade name of SLGI Asset Management Inc., Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada and Sun Life Financial Trust Inc. SLGI Asset Management Inc. is the investment manager of the Sun Life Mutual Funds, Sun Life Granite Managed Solutions and Sun Life Private Investment Pools. 

© SLGI Asset Management Inc. and its licensors, 2021. SLGI Asset Management Inc. is a member of the Sun Life group of companies. All rights reserved.