TORONTO, Oct. 2, 2013 /CNW/ - The third quarter was a positive one for mutual funds in Canada with all but one of the 22 Morningstar Canada Fund Indices that measure the performance of equity fund categories posting increases, according to preliminary performance numbers today released by Morningstar Research Inc. (Morningstar Canada), a subsidiary of independent investment research provider Morningstar, Inc. Foreign equity funds were among the top performers. Morningstar Canada Greater China Equity Fund Index was up 2.6% in September, and increased 9% for the best performance among regional indices for the quarter. Also in the Asia-Pacific area, funds that invest in Japanese equities increased 4.7% in the quarter, as measured by the Morningstar Canada Japanese Equity Fund Index. The index led in September with a one-month increase of 7.6% and is up 29% so far this year. "Japanese equities have benefitted from Bank of Japan's stimulus policies," Morningstar Fund Analyst Joanne Xiao said. "In particular, the move to devalue the yen has helped the country's export economy." Ranking second for quarterly performance among regional fund indices was the Morningstar European Equity Fund Index, which increased 8.5% for the three-month period. That result was slightly better than the 8.3% increase posted by the more diversified funds in the International Equity category. The best results for the third quarter of 2013, however, came from sector funds. The Health Care Equity category increased 9.9%, underlining a continuing rally for the sector that has seen the Morningstar Canada Health Care Equity Fund Index increase 34.2% for the top year-to-date rank. For funds that invest in precious metals, the rally in gold that saw a double-digit increase by the Morningstar Canada Precious Metals Equity Fund Index in August came to an abrupt end. Despite a three-month increase of 9.3% and a second-place ranking for the quarter, sliding gold prices led the index to declines of 10.9% in September and 41% for the year to date, which were the worst performances by any Morningstar fund index for both periods.