Endowment Index Declines Again in Q2, Lags Behind S&P

Index falls 0.41% during quarter, while S&P 500 gains 3.43%.

The Endowment Index calculated by Nasdaq OMX fell for the second consecutive quarter, declining 0.41% on a total return basis for the three-month period ended June 30, after dropping 0.36% during the first quarter of the year.

 The index decoupled from the S&P 500, which gained 3.43% during the same period after losing 0.76% in the previous quarter.  Year-to-date, the index has declined 0.77%, while the S&P 500 has gained 2.65% so far in 2018. The first half of the year has been a reversal of fortune for the index, which ended 2017 up 17.6%.

 “The primary thematic economic news of the second quarter, including a strong US economy, rising domestic interest rates, global trade protectionism, and higher oil prices were reflected in the performance of the index’s constituents,” said Nasdaq OMX in a release. “Domestic equities and oil and gas were in focus, while emerging markets, particularly China, a primary target of US tariffs, lost favor.”

Despite ending the quarter lower again, 10 of the index’s 19 components posted gains during Q2, though only four gained more than 1%. The biggest gainers were commodities-oil and gas, which returned 17.20%, followed by domestic real estate, which climbed 8.83%. Domestic equity rose 3.90%, while commodities increased 2.30%. 

Emerging Markets-China led the nine components that posted declines, tumbling 14.19% during the quarter, followed by emerging markets-equity, which shed 7.76%. Gold was off 5.59%, and emerging markets-fixed income ended the quarter off 4.19%.

The index represents an asset allocation used by major universities’ endowments, and its methodology is based on the portfolio allocations of more than 800 higher learning institutions managing over $500 billion in total assets. The asset allocation includes stocks, bonds, and alternative investments, such as hedge funds, private equity, and real assets.

Within each of the 19 components are more than 30,000 underlying securities, with a current target allocation of 52% alternatives, 36% equity, 8% fixed income, and 4% liquidity, which is represented by the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF.

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