Jensen Quality Growth Fund commentary for the second quarter ended June 30, 2015.
U.S. Performance Summary
The U.S. equity market ended the second quarter with a slightly positive return. While the domestic economy remains moderately positive, a strong U.S. dollar and geopolitical concerns have created a muted equity market return. The Jensen Quality Growth Fund produced a negative return and underperformed the S&P 500 Index. Relative underperformance this quarter was primarily due to the Fund’s strong overweight and stock selection in the highest quality rated companies (A+ using S&P Quality Rankings as a proxy). On a sector basis, the Fund’s stock selection in Information Technology contributed to performance. Stock selection in Health Care and Consumer Discretionary detracted from performance.
Pros And Cons Of Tail Risk Funds
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On a company level, the top two performers this quarter were Microsoft and Accenture. Microsoft stock reacted favorably to the company’s fiscal third quarter earnings report. While the PC market has continued to drag, the company is realizing success as it transitions to the cloud in both the enterprise business and consumer segments. As a result, we believe Microsoft is building its position as a leader in the cloud market. Accenture has continued to deliver consistent fundamental business performance. The company has posted strong sequential quarterly results and raised revenue guidance for the third time this fiscal year despite material currency headwinds. For this, the market has rewarded the company by driving its stock price higher and the Fund has benefited from it being its second largest position.
The bottom two performers this quarter were Omnicom and 3M Co. OMC was a negative contributor to performance during the quarter as the advertising sector fell under pressure. Lower advertising growth rates and a faster-than-anticipated movement away from television advertising may dampen sales growth and margins for the industry. However, we believe that OMC is wellpositioned with a diversified portfolio of agencies and strong financial performance. We believe 3M’s business fundamentals remain intact as the company reported broad- based revenue growth across its business segments and geographies. However, currency headwinds held back quarterly results and the company lowered 2015 expectations due to the expectation of a further drag from currency. From a macro perspective, results for U.S. companies with business overseas were held back by the strengthened U.S. dollar. Further, economic growth rates slowed in many emerging markets during the period, particularly in China. In Europe, lending rates fell as the European Union moved to stimulate the economy, further driving down the Euro against the already strong U.S. Dollar.
Jensen Quality Growth Fund - Portfolio Changes
No outright purchases or sales of positions were made in the Jensen Quality Growth Fund during Q2. The Investment Committee was active in trimming positions seen as more fully valued and certain positions were increased to reflect Jensen’s convictions in the businesses and relative valuation opportunities. The most notable move over the quarter was the reduction of Equifax (EFX), which started the quarter at just over 3.3% and ended the quarter at just over 1.8%. While the Investment Committee believes EFX continues to possess a compelling and stable business model, the reduction was made purely from a valuation perspective to reduce pricing risk in this position.
Jensen Quality Growth Fund Outlook
In the current climate of a relatively strong U.S. economy, and softer international economies, U.S. stocks have continued to hit all-time highs. While it is difficult to forecast near-term challenges for the U.S. economy at present, we believe that in times of exuberant stock valuations, it is important that investors exercise investment discipline, particularly regarding valuation. We believe the Fund’s focus on stocks that can deliver consistently high profitability while maintaining reasonable valuations is a prudent strategy in the current environment.
Business performance for Fund companies have continued to be supported by competitive advantages, strong balance sheets, robust free cash generation, and consistently high returns on capital. We favor these high quality companies due to their ability to use internally generated cash to fund future growth initiatives while simultaneously increasing dividend payments and repurchasing shares. The consistency of high quality business models should also provide a measure of downside protection for investors, particularly if economic concerns result in heightened volatility in the equity markets.