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as of 09/30/21
For much of the past year and a half, equity markets have been in a steady upward trajectory following the steep decline at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The third quarter of 2021 saw that trend level off notably, pressured by a spike in cases due to the Delta variant, the expiration of government support programs, a pullback in fourth quarter earnings projections, and upheaval in China. The S&P 500 Index market notched a small positive return for the quarter, although much of the growth was driven by megacap tech companies. U.S. small-cap growth companies – as measured by the Russell 2000 Growth Index – were hit the hardest, finishing down 5.65%.
Against this backdrop, Baron Growth Fund increased in the third quarter. Holdings within Financials, Information Technology (IT), and Health Care contributed the most to performance. Positive performance within Financials was driven by MSCI, Inc. and FactSet Research Systems, Inc., respectively the top and third largest contributor to performance. Second largest contributor Gartner, Inc. drove appreciation within IT. Gains within Health Care were led by West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. Shares of this manufacturer of components and systems for the packaging and delivery of injectable drugs rose on financial results that exceeded Street expectations in both the base business and products related to COVID-19 and raised guidance. Materials was the only sector to detract, driven down by Zymergen Inc. Shares of this company dedicated to biofacturing, or harnessing bacteria to manufacture materials, fell following an unexpected update announcing both a major delay in the launch of lead product Hyaline and the removal of CEO Josh Hoffman, who was replaced by company chairman and former Illumina CEO Jay Flatley.
While we are certainly aware of current events that impact the markets, we do not invest based on our insights into short-term macroeconomic, political, or public health issues. We continue to adhere to our time-tested approach, investing for the long-term in businesses that we believe will benefit from long-lived secular growth trends, with sustainable competitive advantages, led by best-in-class management. We remain optimistic that this approach will generate strong performance for our portfolio, regardless of the economic climate.
as of 09/30/21
Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses of the investment carefully before investing. The prospectus and summary prospectuses contain this and other information about the Funds. You may obtain them from the Funds’ distributor, Baron Capital, Inc., by calling 1-800-99BARON or visiting www.BaronFunds.com. Please read them carefully before investing.
The performance data quoted represents past performance. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate; an investor's shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. The Fund’s transfer agency expenses may be reduced by expense offsets from an unaffiliated transfer agent, without which performance would have been lower. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted.
Risks:All investments are subject to risk and may lose value.
The discussion of market trends is not intended as advice to any person regarding the advisability of investing in any particular security. The views expressed on this page reflect those of the respective writer. Some of our comments are based on management expectations and are considered “forward-looking statements.” Actual future results, however, may prove to be different from our expectations. Our views are a reflection of our best judgment at the time and are subject to change at any time based on market and other conditions and Baron has no obligation to update them
Portfolio holdings are subject to change. Current and future portfolio holdings are subject to risk.
The index performance is not fund performance; one cannot invest directly into an index.