Penn endowment gains 1.6%, dragged down by European debt woes

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, gained 1.6% on its investments in the 12 months ended June 30, down from a 19% increase in the previous year.

The value of the university's endowment stood at $6.8 billion after accounting for gifts and distributions to help cover operating costs at the school, Kristin Gilbertson, the university's chief investment officer, said Friday in an e-mailed statement.

The debt crisis in Europe, which hurt the performance of equity markets, caused the poor performance, Ms. Gilbertson said.

Penn's results compare with a 5.5% gain, including reinvested interest, by the S&P 500 for the year ended June 30.

The endowment has had an annual average return of 7% over the past 10 years, Ms. Gilbertson said.

Endowments and foundations had the worst returns of any class of institutional investor, gaining on average 0.37% for the year through June, consultant firm Wilshire Associates said in an Aug. 6 report.