Fund Goal and Approach
The fund seeks long-term capital appreciation. This objective may be changed by the fund's board, upon 60 days' prior notice to shareholders. To pursue its goal, the fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus any borrowings for investment purposes, in common stock. The fund focuses on "blue chip" companies with market capitalizations exceeding $5 billion at the time of purchase, including multinational companies. Blue chip, multinational companies are large, established, globally managed companies that manufacture and distribute their products and services throughout the world. These companies often have a long record of profit growth and dividend payment and a reputation for quality management, products and services. They may be subject to the risks that are involved in investing in foreign securities.
In choosing stocks, the fund first identifies economic sectors that the fund's portfolio managers believe will expand over the next three to five years or longer. Using fundamental analysis, the fund then seeks companies within these sectors that have dominant positions in their industries and that have demonstrated sustained patterns of profitability, strong balance sheets, an expanding global presence and the potential to achieve predictable, above-average earnings growth. The fund is also alert to companies which the fund's portfolio managers consider undervalued in terms of current earnings, assets or growth prospects.
The fund employs a "buy-and-hold" investment strategy, which generally has resulted in an annual portfolio turnover of below 15%. A buy-and-hold investment strategy is characterized by a low portfolio turnover rate, which helps reduce the fund's trading costs and minimizes tax liability by limiting the distribution of capital gains. As a result, the fund invests for long-term growth rather than short-term profits.
The fund typically sells a stock when the fund's portfolio managers believe there is a significant adverse change in the company's business fundamentals that may lead to a sustained impairment in earnings power.
The fund also may invest in U.S. dollar-denominated American Depositary Receipts (ADRs). ADRs typically are issued by U.S. banks or trust companies and represent indirect ownership interest in securities of non-U.S. issuers that are publicly-traded in overseas markets. ADRs are traded in the United States on national securities exchanges and in the over-the-counter market, and may be converted into the underlying foreign securities. The fund may purchase ADRs through "sponsored" or "unsponsored" facilities. A sponsored facility is established jointly by the issuer of the underlying security and a depositary. A depositary may establish an unsponsored facility without participation by the issuer of the underlying security.
An investment in the fund is not a bank deposit. It is not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency. It is not a complete investment program. The value of your investment in the fund will fluctuate, 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 market conditions that are not related to the particular company, such as real or perceived adverse economic conditions, changes in the general outlook for corporate earnings, changes in interest or currency rates, or adverse investor sentiment generally. A security's market value also may decline because of factors that affect a particular industry, such as labor shortages or increased production costs and competitive conditions within an industry, or factors that affect a particular company, such as management performance, financial leverage, and reduced demand for the company's products or services.
* Blue chip risk. By focusing on large capitalization, high quality stocks, the fund may underperform funds that invest in the stocks of lower quality, smaller capitalization companies during periods when the stocks of such companies are in favor.
* 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.
* 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.
In addition to the principal risks described above, the fund is subject to the following additional risks:
* ADR risk. ADRs may be subject to certain of the risks associated with direct investments in the securities of foreign companies, such as currency risk, political and economic risk and market risk, because their values depend on the performance of the non-dollar denominated underlying foreign securities. Certain countries may limit the ability to convert ADRs into the underlying foreign securities and vice versa, which may cause the securities of the foreign company to trade at a discount or premium to the market price of the related ADR. In addition, holders of unsponsored ADRs generally bear all the costs of such facilities and the depositary of an unsponsored facility frequently is under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications received from the issuer of the deposited security or to pass through voting rights to the holders of such ADRs in respect of the deposited securities.
* Other potential risks. The fund may lend its portfolio securities to brokers, dealers and other financial institutions. In connection with such loans, the fund will receive collateral from the borrower equal to at least 100% of the value of loaned securities. If the borrower of the securities fails financially, there could be delays in recovering the loaned securities or exercising rights to the collateral.
Under adverse market conditions, the fund could invest some or all of its assets in U.S. Treasury securities and money market securities. Although the fund would do this for temporary defensive purposes, it could reduce the benefit from any upswing in the market. During such periods, the fund may not achieve its investment objective.
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.