Institutional asset owners in the Northern Trust universe posted positive returns in the first quarter, with a median return of 4.1%, data released Thursday showed.
The quarter ended March 31 was the second straight positive quarter for the universe, after posting a median return of 4.9% for the fourth quarter of 2022. The first three quarters of 2022 had been all negative, resulting in a cumulative overall median return of -12.7% for the year ended Dec. 31.
The strong results for the first quarter were specifically driven by diminishing recession concerns, China's economy reopening and falling energy costs, Northern Trust said in a news release Thursday.
Both equity and fixed income had a strong quarter. Northern Trust's domestic equity program universe and domestic fixed income program universe returned a median 7.3% and 3.1%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 31.
Corporate pension plans had the highest median return for the quarter ended March 31 at 5%, followed by public pension plans at 3.5% and foundations and endowments at 3.4%.
For the one, three and five years ended March 31, public pension plans in Northern Trust's universe returned a median annualized -3.6%, 11.1% and 5.7%, respectively; foundations and endowments, -4.3%, 11.9% and 6.6%; and corporate pension plans, -8.2%, 5.4% and 4.1%.
The Northern Trust universe consists of 400 U.S. institutional funds with at least $100 million in assets and combined assets of more than $1.3 trillion.