As did most equities in 2015, FMI International Fund (FMIJX – $27.11) had a mediocre year. However, the fund was able to return 3.22% in 2015, beating the benchmark MSCI EAFE (negative 0.81%) and the Foreign Large Blend index (negative 1.59%). The total return for FMI included the issuance of a dividend of $0.512 per share and a capital gain of $.006 per share reinvesting in the fund by way of additional shares at the price of $27.79 on December 18. The dividend was slightly less than the $0.584 distributed last year and the capital gain was well below the $0.38 it paid out in 2014. The fund was able to keep its expenses below one percent and maintained its five-star rating by Morningstar for overall performance and for the past three and five year periods. As of December 31, 2015 the top ten holding in the fund representing 33.7% of the total issues held, was as follows:
The sectors of the total holdings of 31 positions consisted of the following, to include a large cash position of over 20%.
The fund invests mainly in a limited number of large capitalization (namely, companies with more than $5 billion market capitalization at the time of initial purchase) value stocks of foreign companies. It normally invests at least 65% of its total assets in the equity securities of non-U.S. companies and the majority of the fund’s investments will be in companies that have global operations rather than in companies whose business is limited to a particular country or geographic region. So far this year, the shares of FMIJX are down 5.2%, given what is taking place in world markets of late. The outlook for global stocks is not too promising, but a reasonable exposure to international markets of about 8% in a well-diversified conservative portfolio is appropriate.