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as of 06/30/23
International equities gained modestly in the second quarter, lagging their U.S. counterparts. European equities performed largely in-line with the index. We consider this encouraging given challenging near-term growth conditions and view the lack of contagion from the U.S. regional bank and Credit Suisse collapses as structurally reassuring. Japan has recently emerged as a potential market leader; we believe select domestic and consumption-oriented opportunities are materializing after years of downward pressure on prices and wages, while improving corporate governance and investor activism are sparking improved returns on capital. China’s post-reopening recovery remained subdued. We expect the consumer recovery to accelerate into the back half of 2023 as conditions normalize and President Xi pushes for an economic rebound. Indian equities returned to leadership, as the country's economic and earnings expansion continued, and valuations have fully mean-reverted after two quarters of weakness. Brazil also reversed prior weakness with significant gains, and we view the recent strength in India and Brazil as a sign of rising market confidence that several central banks are on the cusp of a rate cutting cycle – regardless of future Federal Reserve action. This is unusual and we believe can be attributed to the scale of U.S. COVID-related stimulus and resulting inflation compared to a more constrained response elsewhere.
We remain of the view that international equities are poised for a relative outperformance cycle, principally driven by the following:
1. The consensus view agrees that a U.S. dollar bear market has begun. We believe longer-term dollar fundamentals have been eroding for years, we are well past “peak dollar demand,” and the supply of U.S. Treasuries/dollars has made an important vector change higher as politicians have seized the levers of stimulus from central bankers. Once this view takes hold, the “tax” on holding non-U.S. assets should shift to a tailwind, sparking a reversal of capital/investment flows which we believe will be stimulative to consumption, investment, and earnings growth in ex-U.S. jurisdictions.
2. De-globalization, security of energy/commodity/agriculture, and national security/defense is a catalyst for international markets, which is more geared toward the capital investment required. This reversal from the past 20-plus years of globalization, which benefited wealthy developed consumers, should favor the ex-U.S. owners of real assets and industrial pricing power.
3. India is the fastest growing major economy in the coming decade and beyond. Economic reforms, digitization, formalization, and rising credit penetration favor the most sophisticated, best-managed, public corporations.
4. China’s principal lever to productivity gains as a major pivot toward self-sufficiency in the value-added industries that have been dominated by western multinationals. The rise of domestic champions in automotive/EV, automation/robotics, advanced manufacturing, biopharma, software/AI/semiconductors, and consumer goods should move the dial on perceived relative earnings growth potential for China.
as of 06/30/23
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.