Fund Goal and Approach
The fund seeks long-term capital appreciation. To pursue its goal, the fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus any borrowings for investment purposes, in stocks of companies that (i) are principally traded in China, Hong Kong or Taiwan (Greater China), (ii) derive at least 50% of their revenues from Greater China, or (iii) have at least 50% of their assets in Greater China. The fund invests principally in common stocks, but its stock investments also may include preferred stocks and convertible securities, including those purchased in initial public offerings (IPOs).
To determine where the fund will invest, the portfolio managers analyze several factors, including:
* economic and political trends in Greater China
* the current financial condition and future prospects of individual companies and sectors in the region
* the valuation of one company, sector or market relative to that of another
The portfolio managers generally seek companies with accelerated earnings outlooks and whose share prices appear to be reasonably valued relative to their growth potential. Characteristics of such companies include high-quality corporate governance, management with a commitment to increasing shareholder value, strong earnings momentum with consistent free cash flow generation, sound business fundamentals and long-term vision. The fund may invest in securities of companies of any market capitalization. Generally, the companies in which the fund seeks to invest are leaders in their respective industries, with strong recognition.
A significant amount of the fund's total assets may be invested in securities listed on one of the two stock exchanges in the People's Republic of China (the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges) and/or securities listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Securities listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges are divided into two classes of shares: A shares, ownership of which is restricted to Chinese investors who have obtained a Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) quota, and B shares, which may be owned by Chinese and foreign investors. On the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the fund will invest in H shares which have no ownership restrictions. The fund may also invest in securities of Chinese companies that are listed on stock exchanges in countries other than China, including the United States.
The fund expects that its direct investments in securities listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges will be through B shares. However, the fund may obtain exposure to the A share market in China by investing in participatory notes issued by banks, broker-dealers and other financial institutions or other structured or derivative instruments that are designed to replicate, or otherwise provide exposure to, the performance of A shares of Chinese companies.
Many of the securities in which the fund invests are denominated in foreign currencies. To protect the fund against potential depreciation of the region's currencies versus the U.S. dollar, the fund may engage in currency hedging.
The fund typically sells a stock when the reasons for buying it no longer apply, the company begins to show deteriorating fundamentals or appears less likely to benefit from the current market and economic environment, or the holding no longer meets the portfolio managers' strategic objectives.
Although not a principal investment strategy, the fund may, but is not required to, use derivatives, such as options, futures and options on futures (including those relating to stocks, indexes, foreign currencies and interest rates), swap agreements and forward contracts, as a substitute for investing directly in an underlying asset, to increase returns, or as part of a hedging strategy. The fund also may engage in short-selling, typically for hedging purposes, such as to limit exposure to a possible market decline in the value of its portfolio securities.
An investment in the fund is not a bank deposit. It is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or any other government agency. It is not a complete investment program. The fund's share price fluctuates, sometimes dramatically, which means you could lose money.
* Risks of stock investing. Stocks generally fluctuate more in value than bonds and may decline significantly over short time periods. There is the chance that stock prices overall will decline because stock markets tend to move in cycles, with periods of rising prices and falling prices. The market value of a stock may decline due to general weakness in the stock market or because of factors that affect the company or its particular industry.
* Foreign investment risk. To the extent the fund invests in foreign securities, the fund's performance will be influenced by political, social and economic factors affecting investments in foreign issuers. Special risks associated with investments in foreign issuers include exposure to currency fluctuations, less liquidity, less developed or less efficient trading markets, lack of comprehensive company information, political and economic instability and differing auditing and legal standards. Investments denominated in foreign currencies are subject to the risk that such currencies will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar and affect the value of these investments held by the fund.
* Risks of concentrating investments in Greater China. Because the fund's investments are concentrated in Greater China, the fund's performance is expected to be closely tied to social, political and economic conditions within Greater China and to be more volatile than the performance of more geographically diversified funds. Political, social or economic disruptions in Greater China and surrounding countries, even in countries in which the fund is not invested, may adversely affect security values in Greater China and thus the fund's investments. Unanticipated political, social or economic developments may result in sudden and significant investment losses. At times, religious, cultural and military disputes within and outside Greater China have caused volatility in the Greater China securities markets and such disputes could adversely affect the value and liquidity of the fund's investments in the future.
China remains a totalitarian country with continuing risk of nationalization, expropriation, or confiscation of property. The legal system is still developing, making it more difficult to obtain and/or enforce judgments. Further, the government could at any time alter or discontinue economic reforms. Military conflicts, either internal or with other countries, are also a risk. In addition, inflation, currency fluctuations and fluctuations in inflation and interest rates have had, and may continue to have, negative effects on the economy and securities markets of China. China's economy may be dependent on the economies of other Asian countries, many of which are developing countries. In addition, investments in Taiwan could be adversely affected by its political and economic relationship with China. Each of these risks could increase the fund's volatility.
* Emerging market risk. The securities of issuers located in emerging markets countries tend to be more volatile and less liquid than securities of issuers located in countries of more mature economies, and emerging markets generally have less diverse and less mature economic structures and less stable political systems than those of developed countries. The securities of issuers located or doing substantial business in emerging markets are often subject to rapid and large changes in price. In particular, countries with emerging markets may have relatively unstable governments, may present the risk of sudden adverse government or regulatory action and even nationalization of businesses, may have restrictions on foreign ownership or prohibitions of repatriation of assets, and may have less protection of property rights than more developed countries. The economies of countries with emerging markets may be based predominantly on only a few industries, may be highly vulnerable to changes in local or global trade conditions, and may suffer from extreme debt burdens or volatile inflation rates. Local securities markets may trade a small number of securities and may be unable to respond effectively to increases in trading volume, potentially making prompt liquidation of substantial holdings difficult. Transaction settlement and dividend collection procedures also may be less reliable in emerging markets than in developed markets.
* Foreign currency risk. Investments in foreign currencies are subject to the risk that those currencies will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar or, in the case of hedged positions, that the U.S. dollar will decline relative to the currency being hedged. Currency exchange rates may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time. Foreign currencies are also subject to risks caused by inflation, interest rates, budget deficits and low savings rates, political factors and government intervention and controls.
* Liquidity risk. When there is little or no active trading market for specific types of securities, it can become more difficult to sell the securities in a timely manner at or near their perceived value. In such a market, the value of such securities and the fund's share price may fall dramatically. Investments in foreign securities, particularly those of issuers located in emerging markets, tend to have greater exposure to liquidity risk than domestic securities.
* Portfolio turnover risk. The fund may engage in short-term trading, which could produce higher transaction costs and taxable distributions, and lower the fund's after-tax performance.
* Non-diversification risk. The fund is non-diversified, which means that the fund may invest a relatively high percentage of its assets in a limited number of issuers. Therefore, the fund's performance may be more vulnerable to changes in the market value of a single issuer or group of issuers and more susceptible to risks associated with a single economic, political or regulatory occurrence than a diversified fund.
Please refer to prospectus for additional Risk Details.
Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the fund carefully before investing. Download a prospectus, or a summary prospectus, if available, that contains this and other information about the fund, and read it carefully before investing.