Fund Goal and Approach
The fund seeks total return (consisting of capital appreciation and income). 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 equity securities. The fund seeks to focus on dividend-paying stocks of companies located in the developed capital markets, such as the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and Western Europe. The fund ordinarily invests in at least three countries, and, at times, may invest a substantial portion of its assets in a single country. The fund may invest in the securities of companies of any market capitalization. The fund invests principally in common stocks, but its equity investments also may include preferred stocks, convertible securities, warrants and securities issued by real estate investment trusts (REITs). REITs are pooled investment vehicles that invest principally in income-producing real estate or loans related to real estate. Although the fund typically invests in seasoned issuers, it may purchase securities of companies in initial public offerings (IPOs) or shortly thereafter.
The fund's portfolio managers typically will purchase stocks that, at the time of purchase, have a yield premium to the yield of the FTSE World Index, the fund's benchmark. The FTSE World Index is an unmanaged, free-float market capitalization-weighted index that is designed to measure the performance of 90% of the world's investable stocks issued by large and mid-cap companies in developed and advanced emerging markets. The portfolio managers will combine a top-down approach, emphasizing economic trends and current investment themes on a global basis, with a bottom-up stock selection, based on fundamental research, as described below. In seeking to achieve higher yields, the fund's country and sector allocations may vary significantly from those of the FTSE World Index. Although the fund's investments will be focused among the major developed markets of the world, the fund may invest up to 30% of its assets in emerging markets.
In choosing stocks, the portfolio managers consider: key trends in global economic variables, such as gross domestic product, inflation and interest rates; investment themes, such as changing demographics, the impact of new technologies and the globalization of industries and brands; relative values of equity securities, bonds and cash; company fundamentals; and long-term trends in currency movements. Within markets and sectors determined to be relatively attractive, the portfolio managers seek what are believed to be attractively priced companies that possess a sustainable competitive advantage in their market or sector.
The portfolio managers typically sell a stock when its yield drops below the yield of the FTSE World Index. The portfolio managers also generally will sell securities when themes change or when the portfolio managers determine that a company's prospects have changed or that its stock is fully valued by the market.
The fund may, but is not required to, use derivatives, such as options, futures and options on futures (including those relating to securities, indexes, foreign securities and interest rates) and forward contracts, as a substitute for investing directly in an underlying asset, to increase returns, to manage foreign currency risk, or as part of a hedging strategy. Since the value of foreign currencies can fluctuate significantly and potentially result in losses for investors, the portfolio managers may seek to manage currency risk by hedging all or a portion of the fund's currency exposure and, in their discretion, may employ certain techniques designed to alter the fund's foreign currency exposure. Generally, this involves buying options, futures or forward contracts relating to foreign currencies.
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. To the extent the fund's investments are concentrated in one or a limited number of foreign countries, the fund's performance could be more volatile than that of more geographically diversified funds.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* Derivatives risk. A small investment in derivatives could have a potentially large impact on the fund's performance. The use of derivatives involves risks different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in the underlying assets. Derivatives can be highly volatile, illiquid and difficult to value. Certain types of derivatives, including forward contracts and other over-the-counter transactions, involve greater risks than the underlying obligations because, in addition to general market risks, they are subject to illiquidity risk, counterparty risk, credit risk and pricing risk.
* 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.
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.