Norway's Government Pension Fund Global, Oslo, gained 219 billion kroner ($37 billion) in the first quarter as stocks surged amid unprecedented stimulus from central banks to boost economic growth.
The $728 billion Government Pension Fund Global returned 5.4% in the first three months of the year, the fund reported Friday. Stocks returned 8.3%, while bond investments climbed 1.1%. Real estate investments lost 0.3%.
The return exceeded by 30 basis points the benchmark set by the Finance Ministry.
“The favorable performance reflects the strong push in equity markets, particularly in January and February,” said Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management, the central bank's money management arm, in a statement. “Among the major stock markets, the U.S. and Japanese markets made the largest contributions.”
Equities rallied as central banks in Europe, the U.S. and Japan signaled more stimulus measures to bolster growth. The MSCI World index of stocks has gained 9% so far this year, adding to a 13.2% rally in 2012.
The fund held 62.4% in stocks, 36.7% in bonds and 0.9% in real estate at the end of March. It's mandated to hold 60% in stocks, 35% in bonds and 5% in real estate, while allowing for fluctuations.
The fund said Friday that it reduced bond holdings in the world's four major currencies, the yen, dollar, euro and pound, to 80% from 90% a year earlier. In the quarter, the fund reduced investments in government bonds in Japan, Austria and France, while increasing its investments in the U.S., Netherlands and Germany.