4Q2019 – Focus Growth Commentary

Equities performed well in the fourth quarter and our top performers were Microsoft, Align Technology, and Facebook.

  • During the fourth quarter of 2019, the Polen Focus Growth Composite Portfolio (the “Portfolio”) returned 10.58% gross of fees compared to 10.63% for the Russell 1000 Growth Index and 9.07% for the S&P 500. For the full year 2019, the Portfolio returned 38.80% versus 36.40% for the Russell 1000 Growth and 31.49% for the S&P 500.
  • Equities performed well in 2019 as interest rates declined, and investors appeared to recalibrate their views on valuations as a result. After raising interest rates as recently as December 2018, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times during 2019.
  • Our top performers in the fourth quarter were Microsoft, Align Technology and Facebook. For the full year, Microsoft, Facebook, and Visa were the top contributors. In the fourth quarter, we had only minor detractors, including Dollar General, Oracle and Nestle. For the full year, we had zero detractors to the Portfolio’s returns, and strength in the Portfolio was broad-based with eleven companies appreciating by greater than 35%.
  • In the fourth quarter, we initiated three new positions in Salesforce.com, Abbott Laboratories and ServiceNow Inc. We also exited Oracle after a 15-year holding period.

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