Even as they staged a return to positive territory for a second month, mutual fund performances last month remained dominated by concerns over interest rates and high oil prices, according to fund research firm Lipper. Hong Kong equity funds posted a month-to-month gain of 2.23 per cent last month after a volatile first five months that saw performances swinging between negative and positive returns. 'Investors saw a generally turbulent market over the last six months,' said Lipper research manager Karen Chan. 'They are weighed down by worries about the global economy and spiralling oil prices, and by concerns that inflation could lead to further rate rises and economic slowdown.' Overall, the second quarter recorded a slight gain of 0.32 per cent, compared with the 0.55 per cent loss in the previous quarter. Leading the charge were commodity and energy funds, which recorded a 7.33 per cent return as prices of both gold and oil rebounded substantially. 'Economic concerns and spiking oil prices led investors to turn to the metal to play safe,' said Ms Chan. Emerging market funds continued their strong run, coming second in the rankings with a 4.19 per cent return. The sector has shown an impressive 110.92 per cent return in the past three years. Surprisingly, information and technology funds, which led all categories in May, recorded a bottom-of-the-table 0.56 per cent loss last month. Fixed income funds also endured a largely unexciting month, with a 0.19 per cent gain. Ms Chan said she was optimistic that Hong Kong mutuals would finish in positive numbers for the full year. 'It wasn't too bad for investors to see two of three months of the funds market on the upside over the quarter and most of the stocks appeared fairly valued.'