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Ariel Focus Fund Q2 2015 Commentary

Ariel Focus Fund commentary for the second quarter ended June 30, 2015.

H/T Dataroma

For most of the second quarter, stocks were up fairly nicely at home and abroad—until the final few sessions. As news out of Puerto Rico and especially Greece worsened, stocks fell sharply. In the last two trading days of the quarter, the foreign stock MSCI EAFE Index dropped -2.97%, the U.S. large-cap S&P 500 Index fell -1.81%, and the U.S. small-cap Russell 2000 Index retreated -2.01%. To our minds, these sell-offs were not based on economic exposures but on an expansive sense of risk and, ultimately, on fear. The volatility extended to other asset classes: long U.S. bonds were up roughly +1.5% while high-yield bonds were off about -0.5% in those two days. Altogether, it meant most major stock indexes we track had roughly flat returns.

This quarter, Ariel Focus Fund fell -0.80%, behind the Russell 1000 Value Index’s +0.11% gain, as well as the +0.28% gain of the S&P 500 Index.

Ariel Focus Fun: Performance contributors

Some of our holdings had good returns for the quarter. Toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (SWK) jumped +10.92% due to strong earnings. The market expected the company to...