Following is a summary of the markets and our funds’ performance for the month of July 2019, provided by our Chief Investment Strategist David A. Klassen.
- Global financial markets were mixed in July as the U.S. equity markets grew but at a slower pace, while International equity markets were negative. Fixed income markets were all positive. The S&P 500, which tracks large cap U.S. stocks, was up 1.44% in July and is up 20.24% Y-T-D. The Russell 2000 Index, which tracks domestic small cap stocks increased 0.58% in July and is up 17.66% Y-T-D. The International developed equity index (MSCI EAFE), decreased –1.27% in July and is up 12.58% Y-T-D. The emerging markets index (MSCI EM) decreased -1.22% in July and is up 9.23% Y-T-D.
- In July, bond yields increased slightly, and prices decreased; the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond yield increased by 1bp to 2.53%, the 10-year yield increased by 2bps to 2.02%, and the 5-year yield increased 8bps to 1.84%.
- The Barclays Aggregate Index, which is a measure of U.S. Bond prices, increased 0.22% for July and is up 6.35% Y-T-D.
ECONOMIC AND GEOPOLITICAL HEADLINES
- U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2019 increased 2.1%, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. First quarter 2019 GDP increased 3.1%.
- The July Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was 51.2 from June’s 51.7. Per the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), a reading above 50 is considered economic expansion.
- July non-farm employment increased by 164,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7%, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on August 2nd. Employment trended positively in professional and technical services, health care, social assistance, and financial activities. Average Hourly Earnings (wages) increased 3.2% year-over-year.
FUND PERFORMANCE UPDATES
- In July, the Total Equity Fund increased by 0.30% and is up 17.02% Y-T-D. The International Equity Fund was down -0.73% and is up 14.43% Y-T-D. The Small Cap Equity Fund increased by 1.30% and is up 23.67% Y-T-D. The Fixed Income Fund was up 0.33% and is up 7.08% Y-T-D.
- Many UCF equity managers had positive relative returns and absolute returns in July. For domestic large cap markets, QMA outperformed while Fiduciary underperformed their respective benchmark. In domestic small cap markets, all managers outperformed their respective benchmarks. For international markets, developed manager Baillie Gifford outperformed while LSV and emerging markets manager RBC underperformed their respective benchmarks.
- All Balanced Funds were in-line to better than their respective benchmarks, except for the Beyond Fossil Fuels Balance Fund. The Moderate Balanced Fund, UCF’s most popular fund, increased 0.28% and is up 12.18% Y-T-D. The Aggressive Balanced Fund was up 0.29% and is up 13.99% Y-T-D. The Conservative Balanced Fund returned 0.29% and is up 9.91% Y-T-D. The Alternatives Balanced Fund was up 1.13% and is up 12.01% Y-T-D. Finally, the Beyond Fossil Fuels Balanced Fund decreased by -0.21% and is up 11.22% Y-T-D.