- Global financial markets were positive in September as the Fed cut rates an additional 25 bps and European Central Banks restarted their asset purchase programs. The S&P 500, which tracks large cap U.S. stocks, was up 1.87% in September and is up 20.55% Y-T-D. The Russell 2000 Index, which tracks domestic small cap stocks increased 2.08% in September and is up 14.18% Y-T-D. The International developed equity index (MSCI EAFE), increased 2.87% in September and is up 12.80% Y-T-D. The emerging markets index (MSCI EM) increased 1.91% in September and is up 5.89% Y-T-D.
- In September, bond yields increased, and prices decreased; the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond yield increased by 16 bps to 2.12%, the 10-year yield increased by 18 bps to 1.68%, and the 5-year yield increased by 16 bps to 1.55%.
- The Barclays Aggregate Index, which is a measure of U.S. Bond prices, decreased -0.53% for September and is up 8.52% Y-T-D.
ECONOMIC AND GEOPOLITICAL HEADLINES
- U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2019 increased 2.0%, according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. First quarter 2019 GDP increased 3.1%.
- The September Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was 52.6% from 56.4% in August. This was below expectations of 55.0%. The September Manufacturing PMI was 47.8% from August’s 49.1%. Per the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), a reading above 50 is considered economic expansion.
- September non-farm employment increased by 136,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate declined to 3.5%, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on October 4, 2019. Employment trended positively in healthcare and professional/business services. Average Hourly Earnings (wages) increased 2.9% year-over-year.
FUND PERFORMANCE UPDATES
- In September, the Total Equity Fund increased by 1.98% and is up 15.88% Y-T-D. The International Equity Fund increased 2.21% and is up 12.45% Y-T-D. The Small Cap Equity Fund increased by 1.02% and is up 19.42% Y-T-D. The Fixed Income Fund declined 0.50% and is up 8.52% Y-T-D.
- Many UCF equity managers had both positive relative returns and absolute returns in September. For domestic large cap markets, QMA outperformed while Fiduciary underperformed their respective In domestic small cap markets, all managers outperformed their respective benchmarks except Fiduciary. For international markets, developed manager Baillie Gifford and emerging markets manager RBC underperformed while LSV outperformed their respective benchmarks.
- All Balanced Funds were below their respective benchmarks except the conservative balanced fund. The Moderate Balanced Fund, UCF’s most popular fund, increased 1.00% and is up 12.13% Y-T-D. The Aggressive Balanced Fund was up 1.40% and is up 13.46% Y-T-D. The Conservative Balanced Fund returned 0.40% and is up 10.55% Y-T-D. The Alternatives Balanced Fund was up 0.30% and is up 11.45% Y-T-D. Finally, the Beyond Fossil Fuels Balanced Fund increased by 0.73% and is up 11.10% Y-T-D.