Following is a summary of the markets and our funds’ performance for the month of November 2017, provided by our Chief Investment Strategist David Klassen.
- Global financial markets were mixed in November as the US economy accelerated. The S&P 500, which tracks large-cap U.S. stocks, increased 3.07% in November and is up 20.49% Y-T-D. The Russell 2000 Index, which tracks domestic small-cap stocks, was up 2.88% and is up 15.11% Y-T-D. The international developed equity index (MSCI EAFE) was up 1.05% in November and is up 23.06% Y-T-D. The emerging markets index (MSCI EM), was up 0.20% in November and is up 32.53% Y-T-D, still the best performing asset class year-to-date.
- In November, the bond yield curve flattened; the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond yield decreased 5bps to 2.83%, while the 10-year yield increased 3bps to 2.41%, and the 5-year yield increased 12bps to 2.14%.
- Corporate bond prices, as measured by Barclays Aggregate Index were down 13% for November, and are up 3.07% Y-T-D.
ECONOMIC & GEOPOLITICAL HEADLINES
- U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), in the third quarter of 2017, increased 3.3%, according to the “second” estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Second quarter 2017 GDP increased 3.1%.
- U.S. manufacturing continues to grow in November. In November, the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) registered 58.2, 0.5 percentage points below October reading of 58.7. Per the Institute for Supply Management, a reading above 50 is considered economic expansion.
- In October, non-farm employment added 228,000 jobs in November, exceeding economists’ expectation of an increase of 195,000 jobs. September and October job gains were revised by a combined 3,000 more than previously reported. After revisions, job gains have averaged 170,000 over the past three months. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1%.
- The Total Equity Fund was up 2.08% for November, and its Y-T-D return is 23.08%. The International Equity Fund was up 0.89% in November, and its Y-T-D return is 27.76%. The Small Cap Equity Fund was down 3.02% for October and its Y-T-D return is 14.55%. In November, net of fees, the Fixed Income Fund was up 0.02%, and its Y-T-D return is 3.53%.
- The UCF equity managers’ performance were mixed relative to their respective benchmarks for November. International managers LSV and Oaktree outperformed their respective benchmarks, while Baillie Gifford lagged its benchmark in November. Domestic Core equity managers QMA and Fiduciary Management (FMI) outperformed, while State Street matched its benchmark in November. Small-cap manager Westfield outperformed its benchmark, DFA and FMI trailed their respective benchmarks in November.
- The Moderate Balanced Fund, in November, was up 1.21%, and is up 14.11% Y-T-D. The Aggressive Balanced Fund was up 1.51% in November and has a return of 17.19% Y-T-D. The Conservative Balanced Fund was up 0.74% in November and is up 9.39% Y-T-D. The Alternatives Balanced Fund was up 1.29% in November and has a return of 13.66% Y-T-D. The Beyond Fossil Fuels Balanced Fund was up 0.93% for November and is up 15.01% Y-T-D.