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as of 03/31/22
The Review and Outlook for period ending March 31, 2022, is not yet available.
as of 03/31/22
as of 03/31/22
Baron Technology Fund (Institutional Shares) declined 16.40% in the first quarter, trailing the MSCI ACWI Information Technology Index by 612 basis points due to a combination of stock selection and differences in industry weights.
Cash exposure in a down market, unique exposure to internet & direct marketing retailers, and lower exposure to lagging electronic equipment instruments & components stocks added the most value. Strength in internet & direct marketing retail came from Amazon.com, Inc., the world’s largest retailer and cloud services provider. Amazon’s shares held up better than the broader market after the company’s recently approved stock split and sizeable repurchase program were well received by investors. The company has also been performing well across its core Retail, Cloud, and Advertising businesses.
Investments in IT services, semiconductors & semiconductor equipment, and software accounted for most of stock-specific weakness in the period. Lack of exposure to index heavyweight Apple, Inc. in technology hardware storage & peripherals and unique exposure to the media and entertainment industries also proved costly during the quarter. Unfavorable stock selection in IT services was driven by significant declines from outsourced software development provider EPAM Systems, Inc. and cloud-based commerce platform Shopify Inc. EPAM was the largest detractor after management withdrew guidance because of the anticipated business disruption from Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, where many of the company’s employees are based. We exited our EPAM position given the significant near-term operational challenges facing the company as a result of the war. Shopify was another top detractor due to the normalization in e-commerce from the early stages of the pandemic and the rotation out of fast-growth stocks. Within semiconductors & semiconductor equipment, lower exposure to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd., whose shares outperformed during the quarter, and sharp declines from Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. and Lam Research Corporation hampered performance. Several of the Fund’s software holdings were hurt by the rotation out of high-multiple growth stocks during the quarter, namely Ceridian HCM Holding Inc., Snowflake Inc., HubSpot, Inc., The Trade Desk, and Intuit Inc. Weakness in media came from global marketing services business S4 Capital plc and special-interest publisher Future plc, whose shares were negatively impacted by concerns about a weakening advertising environment. S4’s stock also came under pressure when an auditing delay pushed back the release of the company’s fiscal year results. Global streaming service Netflix, Inc. and digital music services provider Spotify Technology S.A. were responsible for much of the relative shortfall in the entertainment industry. Netflix’s shares were down after user additions fell short of investor expectations, while Spotify’s stock was hurt by the controversy surrounding Joe Rogan, a podcaster exclusive to Spotify's platform.