TORONTO, April 2, 2013 /CNW/ - Equity funds in Canada saw positive results for the first quarter of 2013, with strong performances from funds that target U.S. and Japanese markets in particular. Canadian equity funds had positive but middling results compared to their foreign counterparts, according to preliminary performance numbers released today by Morningstar Canada. The Morningstar Canada Fund Indices that measure the aggregate returns of funds in the Japanese Equity, U.S. Small/Mid Cap Equity, and U.S. Equity categories were among the best performers with increases of 13.3%, 12.5%, and 11.6%, respectively, for the first quarter. All three fund indices were among the leaders in each of the first three months of the year. "Japanese Equity funds continued to do well despite the weakening of the yen versus the Canadian dollar. The weak yen has helped boost the profitability of Japan's exporters. In addition, the Bank of Japan's renewed commitment to fight deflation and its use of aggressive stimulus have also supported the market rally," said Morningstar Fund Analyst Joanne Xiao. "In the United States, the S&P 500 Index closed the month at an all-time high, as a steady stream of positive economic data and stronger-than-expected corporate earnings continue to support a slow recovery of the U.S. economy." Among the five domestic equity fund indices, the best performer with a 6.2% increase for the quarter was the Morningstar Canadian Focused Equity Fund Index, whose constituent funds allocate more than 22% of their assets to U.S. equities on average. Funds in the purely domestic Canadian Equity category produced an average increase of 3.7% for the quarter, surpassing the S&P TSX Capped Composite Index by almost 40 basis points after fees.