Following is a summary of the markets and our funds’ performance for the month of May 2019, provided by our Chief Investment Strategist David A. Klassen.
- After a strong start to the year, global financial markets declined in May mainly due to growing concerns around U.S.-China trade. The S&P 500, which tracks large cap U.S. stocks, was down -6.35% in May but is still up 10.74% Y-T-D. The Russell 2000 Index, which tracks domestic small cap stocks decreased –7.78% in May and is up 9.26% Y-T-D. The International developed equity index (MSCI EAFE), decreased –4.80% in May and is up 7.64% Y-T-D. The emerging markets index (MSCI EM) decreased –7.26% in May and is up 4.09% Y-T-D.
- In May, bond yields decreased, and prices increased; the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond yield decreased 35bps to 2.58%, while the 10-year yield decreased 37bps to 2.14%, and the 5-year yield decreased 35bps to 1.93%.
- The Barclays Aggregate Index, which is a measure of U.S. Bond prices, increased 1.78% for May and is up 4.80% Y-T-D.
ECONOMIC AND GEOPOLITICAL HEADLINES
- S. gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2019 increased 3.1%, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Fourth quarter 2018 GDP increased 2.2%.
- The May Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to 52.1 from 52.8 in the previous month. Per the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), a reading above 50 is considered economic expansion.
- May non-farm employment increased by 75,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 7th. Employment trended positively in professional and business services and in health care. Average Hourly Earnings (wages) increased 3.1% year-over-year.
FUND PERFORMANCE UPDATES
- In May, the Total Equity Fund decreased -6.22% and is up 9.77% Y-T-D. The International Equity Fund was down -5.73% and is up 9.12% Y-T-D. The Small Cap Equity Fund decreased -6.78% and is up 14.25% Y-T-D. The Fixed Income Fund was up 1.28% and is up 5.10% Y-T-D.
- Many UCF equity managers had positive relative returns, while all had negative absolute returns in May. For international markets, developed manager Baillie Gifford and emerging markets manager RBC outperformed while LSV underperformed their respective benchmarks. For domestic markets, Fiduciary large cap outperformed while QMA underperformed their respective In domestic small cap markets, Westfield, Fiduciary, and BlackRock all outperformed while DFA underperformed their respective benchmarks.
- All Balanced Funds had negative returns for May due to the equity market sell-off. The Moderate Balanced Fund, UCF’s most popular fund, decreased -3.37% and is up 7.40% Y-T-D. The Aggressive Balanced Fund was down -4.59% and is up 8.23% Y-T-D. The Conservative Balanced Fund returned -1.55% and is up 6.36% Y-T-D. The Alternatives Balanced Fund was down -2.82% and is up 7.50% Y-T-D. Finally, the Beyond Fossil Fuels Balanced Fund decreased -3.04% and is up 6.81% Y-T-D.