Week In Funds: U.S. Stocks Rally; See What’s Ahead

U.S. diversified stock funds climbed 0.04% on average in the week ended July 30, confining their losing streak to a single week. They’ve gained ground for investors in two of the past three weeks, but a three-week losing skein preceded that.

Their gain in the latest week put them up 3.28% for the year.

They eked out their modest gain in the latest week as investors finally saw some stock market news they liked, in the form of upbeat corporate earnings.

UPS (NYSE:UPS) rose all week. On Tuesday it reported 27% growth in earnings per share, carried by strong overseas business.

Higher global sales and higher prices for pricey trucks and SUVs helped rev up Ford (NYSE:F).

Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) got a shot in the arm, as EPS jumped 33%.

A modest midweek rebound in Chinese stocks also cheered U.S. investors.

And the broad market got a boost from the Federal Reserve, which voted to stand pat on interest rates for the moment. The Fed signaled it wants to see stronger economic gains and more inflation before it hikes rates.

Many investors still expect the central bank to raise its federal-funds rate in September for the first time since 2006.

But the Fed signaled that it would be cautious in the timing and size of subsequent increases.

The corporate earnings news was not all cheery. Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) gapped down on Thursday as it reported softer-than-expected sales. Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) also gapped down as investors got a bad taste in their mouths from slowing sales. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) also fell.

Those reports helped limit U.S. diversified funds to a modest gain for the latest week.

In fact, the overall leading U.S. diversified stock fund category in the latest week was dedicated short bias funds, which specialize in shorting stocks. That group gained 0.67%, best among all U.S. diversified stock fund categories.

Midcap value funds performed best among all market capitalization and style groups. They gained 0.53% in the latest week. That boosted their year-to-date gain to 1.37%.

Small-cap growth funds lost 0.80% in the latest week. That was the worst showing among market-cap-and-style mutual fund categories. The decline cut their year-to-date gain to 7.97%, good enough to retain the lead for the year among market-cap-and-style categories.

Small-cap value funds repeated as the worst laggards year to date, down 1.39%.

Utility funds led all sector categories in the latest week with their 1.83% gain. That cut their year-to-date loss to 5.13%.

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