Q4 2020 : Portfolio Manager Q&A

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Would you please comment on the Fund’s performance relative to the S&P 500 Index in the fourth quarter and for the year?

The Fund rose 8.52% for the fourth quarter of 2020, lagging the S&P 500 which rose 12.15% for the same period. Periods of short-term underperformance are to be expected, particularly in periods of rapid upswings in the stock market. As a result of our investment process, we own companies with predictable track records of 10+ years of consistent growth in both stock price and earnings, rather than high-flying, more volatile companies. This predictability is designed to produce more consistent results over time with less volatility.

We are pleased that the Fund outperformed over the 1-year period and longer timeframes. In fact, the Fund outperformed the S&P for the 1, 3, 5, and 10-year periods as of December 31, 2020.

How would you describe the Fund’s holdings?

We believe the Fund’s long-term performance is attributable to the types of companies we own. The Fund is comprised of stocks that have been consistent growers for a number of years. In fact, our investment process leads us to companies that have demonstrated 10 or more years of consistent growth in stock price and earnings. These companies typically have good management, offer proprietary goods and services, and enjoy barriers to competition. Over the long term, these companies typically are able to produce consistent operating results in a variety of economic conditions.

As part of our long-term perspective, many of our holdings have been in the Fund for a very long time. For example, we purchased Ansys in 2002, we purchased Roper in 2004, and MasterCard in 2007. These companies have grown over time and continue to add value.

As of December 31, 2020, the Fund’s largest sector weightings are 35% in the Information Technology sector and 26% in the Industrials sector, compared to the S&P 500’s holdings of 24% and 9% in these sectors, respectively.

Would you please comment about the Fund’s risk/reward profile?

We believe investors desire long-term growth while minimizing risk. Our investment process is designed with a long-term perspective. We own companies that have demonstrated 10+ years of consistent growth in stock price and earnings. By investing in such companies that have performed consistently over time, we aim to provide a “smoother ride” to growth for investors. As a result of our emphasis on companies with such predictable operating results, the Fund has been awarded Morningstar’s “Low” Risk rating for the 3, 5 and 10-year periods ended December 31, 2020.

What changes have been made to the portfolio in Q4?

In the fourth quarter of 2020, we added one company to the Fund—Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). ICE operates financial exchanges and provides ancillary data, including the New York Stock Exchange and the ICE Brent crude futures contract. We sold two companies that no longer met our stringent investment criteria—Northrop Grumman Corp NOC), a defense contractor with segments including aeronautics and space systems, and The Toro Co (TTC), the manufacturer of turf maintenance and landscaping equipment. The Fund held 34 stocks as of December 31, 2020.

Average Annual Returns as of 12/31/20

QTD 1 Yr 3 Yr 5 Yr 10 Yr
Investor - VALSX 8.52% 23.12% 19.47% 17.42% 14.05%
Institutional - VILSX1 8.55 23.35 19.54 17.46 14.07
S&P 500 Index 12.15 18.40 14.18 15.22 13.88
Morningstar Mid-Cap Growth Category Average 21.00 37.27 19.24 17.42 13.27
Morningstar Cat. Rank (%) 80 47 51 47
# of Funds in Category 604 564 504 383
Morningstar Risk Low Low Low
VALSX Gross / Net Expense Ratio: 1.16%, VILSX Gross / Net Expense Ratio*: 0.91%.
Morningstar rates funds based on enhanced Morningstar risk-adjusted returns.
Morningstar rates funds based on enhanced Morningstar risk-adjusted returns.
1 Indicates Morningstar Extended Performance. Extended performance is an estimate based on the performance of the fund's oldest share class, adjusted for fees. The Inception Date of VILSX is April 30, 2020.

As of 12/31/20, the Fund’s Top 10 Holdings were as follows: Danaher Corp (6.24%), Mastercard Inc A (5.70%), Accenture PLC Class A (5.61%), Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (5.38%), Ansys Inc (4.57%), Roper Technologies Inc (4.46%), Teledyne Technologies Inc (4.41%), Cintas Corp (4.41%), Salesforce.com Inc (4.33%), Fiserv Inc (3.79%)

There are risks associated with investing in small and mid cap stocks, which tend to be more volatile and less liquid than stocks of large companies, including the risk of price fluctuations.

The performance data quoted herein represents past performance and does not guarantee future results. Market volatility can dramatically impact the fund's short term performance. Current performance may be lower or higher than figures shown. The investment return and principal value will fluctuate so that an investor's shares, when redeemed may be worth more or less than their original cost. Past performance data through the most recent month end is available at vlfunds.com or by calling 800.243.2729.

You should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of Value Line Funds before investing. This and other information can be found in the fund's prospectus and summary prospectus, which can be obtained free of charge from your investment representative, by calling 800.243.2729, or by clicking on the applicable fund at www.vlfunds.com. Please read it carefully before you invest or send money. Value Line Funds are distributed by EULAV Securities LLC. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Portfolio holdings are subject to change and should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell securities. Current and future portfolio holdings are subject to risk.

The average annual returns shown above are historical and reflect changes in share price, reinvested dividends and are net of expenses. Investment results and the principal value of an investment will vary.

The Morningstar Rating™ for funds, or "star rating", is calculated for managed products (including mutual funds, variable annuity and variable life subaccounts, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, and separate accounts) with at least a three-year history. Exchange-traded funds and open-ended mutual funds are considered a single population for comparative purposes. It is calculated based on a Morningstar Risk-Adjusted Return measure that accounts for variation in a managed product's monthly excess performance, placing more emphasis on downward variations and rewarding consistent performance. The top 10% of products in each product category receive 5 stars, the next 22.5% receive 4 stars, the next 35% receive 3 stars, the next 22.5% receive 2 stars, and the bottom 10% receive 1 star. The Overall Morningstar Rating for a managed product is derived from a weighted average of the performance figures associated with its three-, five-, and 10-year (if applicable) Morningstar Rating metrics. The weights are: 100% three- year rating for 36-59 months of total returns, 60% five-year rating/40% three-year rating for 60-119 months of total returns, and 50% 10-year rating/30% five-year rating/20% three-year rating for 120 or more months of total returns. While the 10-year overall star rating formula seems to give the most weight to the 10-year period, the most recent three-year period actually has the greatest impact because it is included in all three rating periods. VLIFX (3 Year / 3 stars / 560 funds; 5 Year / 3 stars / 500 funds; 10 Year / 4 stars / 379 funds; ) VALLX (3 Year / 3 stars / 1186 funds; 5 Year / 3 stars / 1065 funds; 10 Year / 3 stars / 788 funds; ) VLEOX (3 Year / 3 stars / 576 funds; 5 Year / 3 stars / 503 funds; 10 Year / 4 stars / 379 funds; ) VALSX (3 Year / 3 stars / 560 funds; 5 Year / 3 stars / 500 funds; 10 Year / 3 stars / 379 funds; ) VLAAX (3 Year / 4 stars / 641 funds; 5 Year / 4 stars / 574 funds; 10 Year / 5 stars / 412 funds; ) VALIX (3 Year / 5 stars / 307 funds; 5 Year / 5 stars / 276 funds; 10 Year / 5 stars / 185 funds; ) VAGIX (3 Year / 1 stars / 385 funds; 5 Year / 2 stars / 337 funds; 10 Year / 2 stars / 255 funds; ) VLHYX (3 Year / 1 stars / 144 funds; 5 Year / 1 stars / 123 funds; 10 Year / 1 stars / 99 funds; )

Source: Morningstar Direct