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 the securities of Indian issuers and other investments that are tied economically to India. The fund considers Indian issuers to be: (i) companies organized under the laws of India; (ii) companies whose principal place of business is in India; (iii) companies that derive at least 50% of their profits, income or revenue from operations in India; (iv) companies whose securities are principally traded on Indian securities exchanges; or (v) governmental entities or agencies, instrumentalities or political sub-divisions of India. The fund may invest in equity securities, principally common stocks, and fixed-income securities, principally bonds. The fund also may invest in preferred stocks, convertible securities and warrants. The fund may purchase securities in initial public offerings (IPOs) or shortly thereafter.
In choosing investments, the fund's portfolio managers analyze several factors, including:
* economic and political trends in India
* the current financial condition and future prospects of individual companies and sectors in India
* the valuation of one company or sector in India 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 generally 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 the securities of companies of any market capitalization and fixed-income securities of any credit quality, maturity or duration. The fund may invest up to 20% of its assets in the securities of issuers located in countries other than India. The fund invests in securities denominated in the Indian rupee or other local currency of issue or U.S. dollar-denominated securities.
The fund expects that its direct equity investments generally will be in securities listed on exchanges. The fund, however, may gain exposure to certain issuers and markets in India 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 such Indian issuers and markets. The fund also may invest in depositary receipts, such as American Depositary Receipts and Global Depositary Receipts, which are securities that represent ownership interests in the publicly-traded securities of Indian or other non-U.S. issuers. The fund may purchase depositary receipts through a sponsored facility, which is established jointly by the issuer of the underlying security and a depositary, or an unsponsored facility, which is established without participation by the issuer of the underlying security.
Many of the securities in which the fund invests are denominated in the Indian rupee or other emerging market country currencies. The value of these currencies can fluctuate significantly and potentially result in losses for investors. The portfolio managers, in their discretion, may seek to manage currency risk and protect the fund against potential depreciation of such currencies versus the U.S. dollar by hedging all or a portion of the fund's currency exposure and employing certain investment techniques designed to alter the fund's exposure to the Indian rupee or such other foreign currencies.
The fund typically sells a security when the reasons for buying it no longer apply, a 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.
The fund may, but is not required to, use derivative instruments, such as options, futures and options on futures (including those relating to securities, indexes, foreign currencies 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. Derivatives may be entered into on established exchanges or through privately negotiated transactions referred to as over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives. Futures contracts generally are standardized, exchange-traded contracts that provide for the sale or purchase of a specified financial instrument or currency at a future time at a specified price. An option on a futures contract gives the purchaser the right (and the writer of the option the obligation) to assume a position in a futures contract at a specified exercise price within a specified period of time. The fund may engage in futures transactions on both U.S. and foreign exchanges. A forward contract involves an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date at a price set at the time of the contract. The fund also may invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to provide exposure to certain markets or asset classes.
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 India. Because the fund's investments are concentrated in India, the fund's performance is expected to be closely tied to social, political and economic conditions within India and to be more volatile than the performance of more geographically diversified funds. Political, social or economic disruptions in India and surrounding countries, even in countries in which the fund is not invested, may adversely affect security values in India 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 India have caused volatility in the Indian securities markets and such disputes could adversely affect the value and liquidity of the fund's investments in the future.
The securities markets in India are substantially smaller, less liquid and more volatile than the major securities markets in the United States. The laws of India relating to corporate governance standards may be less robust and transparent, which increases the potential for loss to and unequal treatment of investors.
The Indian government has exercised, and continues to exercise, significant influence over many aspects of the Indian economy, which may have significant effect on the Indian economy and could adversely affect market conditions, Indian companies and prices of Indian Securities.
* 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.
* Credit risk. The instruments in which the fund invests may have ratings that are below investment grade ("high yield" or "junk" bonds). High yield bonds involve greater credit risk, including the risk of default, than investment grade bonds, and are considered predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer's ability to make principal and interest payments. The prices of high yield bonds can fall dramatically in response to bad news about the issuer or its industry, or the economy in general. Failure of an issuer or guarantor of a fixed-income security, or the counterparty to a derivatives transaction, to make timely interest or principal payments or otherwise honor its obligations could cause the fund to lose money.
* Interest rate risk. Prices of bonds tend to move inversely with changes in interest rates. Typically, a rise in rates will adversely affect bond prices and, accordingly, the fund's share price. The longer the effective maturity and duration of the fund's fixed-income portfolio, the more the fund's share price is likely to react to interest rates.
* 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 those of domestic securities.
* 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. These requirements assume the obligation is for full payment of the value of the underlying instrument, in cash or by physical delivery, at the settlement date; thus, the fund must set aside liquid assets equal to such derivatives contract's full notional value (generally, the total numerical value of the asset underlying a derivatives contract at the time of valuation) while the positions are open. If the derivatives contract provides for periodic cash settlement during the term of the transaction or cash payment of the gain or loss under the transaction at the settlement date, the fund may segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to the fund's daily marked-to-market net obligation (i.e., the fund's daily net liability) under the contract, if any. By setting aside assets equal to only its net obligations, the fund may employ leverage to a greater extent than if the fund were required to segregate assets equal to the full notional value of such contracts. Future rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission may impact the fund's operations as described in this prospectus.
* 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 see 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.