Fund Goal and Approach
The fund seeks capital appreciation. To pursue its goal, the fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus any borrowings for investment purposes, in the stocks of small cap companies. The fund currently considers small cap companies to be those companies with market capitalizations that fall within the range of companies in the Russell 2000® Index, the fund's benchmark index. As of November 30, 2013, the market capitalization of the largest company in the index was approximately $5.37 billion, and the weighted average and median market capitalizations of the index were approximately $1.75 billion and $700 million, respectively. These capitalization measures vary with market changes and reconstitutions of the index. The fund invests principally in common stocks, but the fund's stock investments also may include preferred stocks and convertible securities of both U.S. and foreign issuers, including those purchased in initial public offerings (IPOs). The fund may invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and similarly structured pooled investments in order to provide exposure to certain equity markets. The fund may invest up to 15% of its assets in foreign securities.
Stocks are selected for the fund's portfolio based primarily on bottom-up fundamental analysis. The fund's portfolio managers use a disciplined investment process that relies, in general, on proprietary fundamental research and valuation. Generally, elements of the process include analysis of mid-cycle business prospects, estimation of the intrinsic value of the company and the identification of a revaluation catalyst. Intrinsic value is based on the combination of the valuation assessment of the company's operating divisions with the firm's economic balance sheet. Mid-cycle estimates, growth prospects and competitive advantages are some of the factors used in the valuation assessment. A company's stated and hidden liabilities and assets are included in the portfolio managers' economic balance sheet calculation. Sector overweights and underweights are a function of the relative attractiveness of securities within the fund's investable universe. The fund's portfolio managers select stocks that are believed to have attractive reward to risk opportunities and may actively adjust the fund's portfolio to reflect new developments.
In general, the fund seeks exposure to securities and sectors that the fund's portfolio managers perceive to be attractive from a valuation and fundamental standpoint. The fund's sector weightings and risk characteristics are a result of bottom-up fundamental analysis and may vary from those of the Russell 2000 Index, the fund's benchmark, at any given time. The Russell 2000 Index is an unmanaged index that measures the performance of the small capitalization sector of the U.S. equity market.
The fund typically sells a stock when it approaches intrinsic value, a significant deterioration of fundamental expectations develops, the revaluation catalyst becomes impaired or a better risk/reward opportunity is presented in the marketplace.
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), forward contracts and swap agreements, 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.
* Small and midsize company risk. Small and midsize companies carry additional risks because the operating histories of these companies tend to be more limited, their earnings and revenues less predictable (and some companies may be experiencing significant losses), and their share prices more volatile than those of larger, more established companies. The shares of smaller companies tend to trade less frequently than those of larger, more established companies, which can adversely affect the pricing of these securities and the fund's ability to sell these securities.
* Growth and value stock risk. By investing in a mix of growth and value companies, the fund assumes the risks of both. Investors often expect growth companies to increase their earnings at a certain rate. If these expectations are not met, investors can punish the stocks inordinately, even if earnings do increase. In addition, growth stocks may lack the dividend yield that may cushion stock prices in market downturns. Value stocks involve the risk that they may never reach their expected full market value, either because the market fails to recognize the stock's intrinsic worth, or the expected value was misgauged. They also may decline in price even though in theory they are already undervalued.
* Market sector risk. The fund may significantly overweight or underweight certain companies, industries or market sectors, which may cause the fund's performance to be more or less sensitive to developments affecting those companies, industries or sectors.
* 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.
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.