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Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Investment results and principal value will fluctuate so shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Investors should be aware of the additional risks associated with investments in non-diversification, undervalued or overlooked companies and investments in specific industries. Additional risks may include those associated with investing in foreign securities, emerging markets, and companies with relatively small market capitalizations.
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as of 03/31/20
U.S. equity markets suffered their worst quarter since the 2008 financial crisis, abruptly ending the longest bull market in U.S. history. U.S. equities achieved new all-time highs in mid-February before falling sharply as the spread of the COVID-19 virus worsened outside of China, raising concerns about global health risks and impacts on global supply chains and economies. The situation was made worse by an escalating oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which sent oil prices tumbling more than 20% in early March. Despite the Federal Reserve’s drastic actions and Washington’s massive stimulus plan to counter the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown, stock prices remained under pressure as the number of reported cases continued to rise globally.
Against this backdrop, Baron Asset Fund declined. No sector contributed in a particularly challenging period for the market. Holdings in Information Technology (IT), Consumer Discretionary, and Financials detracted the most. Top detractor Gartner, Inc. and third largest detractor Guidewire Software, Inc. led declines within IT. Second largest detractor Vail Resorts, Inc. led declines within Consumer Discretionary. Within Financials, Arch Capital Group Ltd. detracted the most as shares of this specialty P&C insurer declined on investor concerns that business interruption and event cancellation claims would spike due to widespread business closures.
Throughout its 30-plus year history, Baron Asset Fund has been a long-term investor in businesses that we believe will benefit from long-lived secular growth trends, with sustainable competitive advantages, led by exceptional management teams. We believe that we have created value for our investors during this time by understanding and analyzing businesses better than many others. We have never believed that we can create value by understanding remarkably complex and inherently uncertain macroeconomic events, such as the ones we are now living through, better than others.
Although we are, of course, closely following the unprecedented social, political and economic effects stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not making meaningful changes to the portfolio based on them. Instead, we continue to follow our tried and true approach, with an emphasis on ensuring that businesses in our portfolio have sufficient financial flexibility and balance sheet strength to weather these unprecedented times.
The most recent periods of extreme uncertainty and disruption in the equity markets – the 2008 financial crisis and the aftermath of 9/11 – proved to be attractive times to make long-term investments in high-quality, mid-sized growth stocks. We are optimistic that this current period will ultimately provide similar upside for our portfolio.
as of 03/31/20
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.