- Global financial markets rebounded positively in April after a sharp decline in the first quarter. The markets remain volatile due to uncertainty around the coronavirus outbreak. The developed and emerging market equity index (MSCI ACWI IMI) increased 10.71% in April and is down -12.91% YTD. The S&P 500, which tracks large cap U.S. stocks, was up 12.82% in April and is down -9.29% YTD. The Russell 2000 Index, which tracks domestic small cap stocks, increased 13.74% in April and is down -21.08% YTD. The International developed equity index (MSCI EAFE) increased 6.46% in April and is down –17.84% YTD. The emerging markets index (MSCI EM) increased 9.16% in April and is down –16.60% YTD.
- In April, longer-term bond yields decreased, and prices increased; the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond yield decreased by 7 bps to 1.28%, the 10-year yield decreased by 6 bps to 0.64%, and the 5-year yield decreased by 1 bps to 0.36%.
- The Barclays Aggregate Index, which is a measure of U.S. Bond prices, increased 1.78% for April and is up 4.98% YTD.
ECONOMIC AND GEOPOLITICAL HEADLINES
- U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2020 decreased -4.8%, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Fourth quarter 2019 GDP increased 2.1%.
- The April Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) decreased to 41.8% from 52.5% in March. This decrease represents a sharp contraction in the non-manufacturing sector. This was above expectations of 36.8%. The April Manufacturing PMI decreased to 41.5% from March’s 49.1%. Per the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), a reading below 50 is considered economic contraction.
- April non-farm employment fell by 20.5 million jobs, and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on May 8, 2020. Jobs fell sharply in all the major industry sectors, with particularly heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality. Average Hourly Earnings (wages) increased 7.9% year-over-year in April.
FUND PERFORMANCE UPDATES
- In April, the Equity Fund increased by 10.99% and is down -15.35% YTD. The International Equity Fund increased by 8.94% in April and is down -17.86% YTD. The Small Cap Equity Fund increased by 14.88% in April and is down -18.47% YTD. The Fixed Income Fund increased by 2.43% in April and is up 2.24% YTD.
- All UCF equity managers had positive absolute returns, and relative returns were mixed in April. Managers that outperformed included Quantitative Management Associates, Westfield, Dimensional Fund Advisors, Blackrock, Baillie Gifford and LSV, while Fiduciary Large Cap, Fiduciary Small Cap and RBC underperformed.
- Most Balanced Funds were behind their respective benchmarks. The Moderate Balanced Fund, UCF’s most popular fund, increased by 7.39% in April and was down -8.27% YTD. The Aggressive Balanced Fund was up 8.77% in April and was down -11.22% YTD. The Conservative Balanced Fund was up 5.17% in April and was down -4.39% YTD. The Alternatives Balanced Fund was up 4.89% in April and was down -8.24% YTD. Finally, the Beyond Fossil Fuels Balanced Fund increased by 7.55% in April and was down -5.65% YTD.