Gold funds were standout winners in August as investors' appetite for risk waned amid concerns of a tapering of monetary stimulus in the US and potential military action in Syria.
The price of gold, which is traditionally viewed as a 'safe haven' asset, rose by 3.9% (in sterling terms) in August, building on a strong recovery in July.
The FTSE Gold Mines index rose 8.9% in August. However, investors should note that gold mining shares are still down 44% this year even after the rebound experienced over the last few weeks.
Global emerging markets were hit particularly hard as investors' risk appetite dwindled.
Charles Stanley Direct pension and investment analyst Rob Morgan said: "While most markets fell [in August] it was Japan and Global Emerging Markets funds that suffered the most with these sectors down nearly 5% for the month.
"The Asia Pacific sectors were not far behind, and markets reliant on overseas investors such as India and South East Asia were among the worst performing areas.
"Funds investing in Latin America, North America, emerging market debt and property shares also suffered. However, virtually all sectors were in the red including (non-index linked) UK Gilts, which lost more than 1%."
However, there were pockets of good performance across some markets - most notably UK smaller companies, up 3%, while specialist sectors like gold and resource funds as well as some commodities generally fared much better.
Hargreaves Lansdown head of advice Danny Cox said: "UK Smaller Companies has been the best performing sector in August. UK smaller companies are likely to have benefited from a change in rules at the start of the month which meant investors were able to hold AIM shares inside their ISAs for the first time. The FTSE AIM rose 4.2% in August while the FTSE 100 fell 3.3%."
Investors should note that the price of gold has fallen over the past few days due to prospects of military action against Syria easing. The spot gold price fell by as much as 1.6% on Monday to $1,373.38 an ounce, falling for a third day to the lowest level since August 23.
Top ten funds:
|SF Webb Capital Smaller Companies Growth||15.95%|
|SF Webb Capital Smaller Companies Gold||15.42%|
|CF Ruffer Baker Steel Gold||12.24%|
|WAY Charteris Gold Portfolio Elite||10.79%|
|MFM Junior Gold||10.46%|
|CF Miton UK Smaller Companies||10.45%|
|CF Wood Street Microcap Investment||7.65%|
|MFM Slater Growth||7.33%|
|Marlborough UK Micro Cap Growth||6.88%|
Bottom ten funds:
|First State Indian Subcontinent||-11.97%|
|Neptune South East Asia||-11.62%|
|Fidelity Emerging Asia||-9.37%|
|Invesco Perpetual Latin America||-8.54%|
|M&G Global Real Estate Securities||-7.37%|
|McInroy & Wood Emerging Markets||-7.36%|
|UBS Global Emerging Markets Equity||-7.30%|
|UBS Asian Consumption||-7.16%|
Top ten sectors:
|IMA UK Smaller Companies||3.14%|
|IMA Short Term Money Market||0.01%|
|IMA China / Greater China||-0.03%|
|IMA Money Market||-0.13%|
|IMA Sterling High Yield||-0.18%|
|IMA UK Index-Linked Gilts||-0.38%|
|IMA Targeted Absolute Return||-0.41%|
|IMA Sterling Strategic Bond||-0.45%|
|IMA UK All Companies||-0.76%|
Bottom ten sectors
|IMA Global Emerging Markets||-4.75%|
|IMA Japanese Smaller Companies||-4.09%|
|IMA North America||-3.85%|
|IMA Asia Pacific Including Japan||-3.76%|
|IMA Asia Pacific Excluding Japan||-3.73%|
|IMA Global Equity Income||-3.11%|
|IMA North American Smaller Companies||-2.71%|
|IMA Europe Excluding UK||-2.45%|
Source for all data: FE Analytics 31/07/2013 to 30/08/2013
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