Plans in the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service posted median returns of 4.86% and 18.13%, respectively, for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31. Wilshire previously reported median returns of 1% and 4.58% for the third quarter and year ended Sept. 30, respectively.
"Equities surged in the fourth quarter of 2019 across geographies thanks to improvements in investor sentiment, continued central bank support and economic data that exceeded expectations," said Jason Schwarz, president, Wilshire Analytics and Wilshire Funds Management, in a news release. "Investor sentiment also benefited from a 'phase one' trade deal between the U.S. and China that removed some uncertainty for investors in the near term."
Public pension plans posted the highest median quarterly return in Wilshire's universe, at 5.12%, followed by foundations and endowments, 5.06%; Taft-Hartley pension plans, 4.82%; and corporate defined benefit plans at 3.45%. For the year ended Dec. 31, foundations and endowments posted a median return of 18.68%, followed by corporate DB plans, at 18.65%; public plans, at 18.44%; and Taft-Hartley pension plans, 18.4%.
By asset class, the MSCI ACWI ex-U.S. index posted quarterly and one-year returns of -8.92% and 21.51%, respectively. The Wilshire 5000 Total Market index, meanwhile, rose 9.08% and 31.02% over those periods, respectively, and the Wilshire Bond index, 0.61% and 11.49%.
Longer term, for the three, five and 10 years ended Sept. 30, the TUCS universe returned a median annualized 7.67%, 6.21% and 8.03%, respectively.