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Q2 Market Commentary

The following market commentary provides context for the investment performance of your charitable assets.

From Cambridge Associates, investment advisor

Global equities (+6.2% for the MSCI ACWI) continued to rebound in the second quarter, outpacing global bonds (-1.5% for the Bloomberg Global Aggregate Bond Index). US stocks (+8.6% for the MSCI US Index) outperformed as the S&P 500 Index entered a new bull market, largely due to investor frenzy around artificial intelligence (AI). In contrast, investor sentiment toward Europe and China subsided, as Europe entered a technical recession and China’s economic reopening disappointed. Bond yields marched higher and yield curves inverted further as investors heeded guidance from many developed market central banks for continued tightening to combat sticky inflation. Markets also contended with the threat of a liquidity crunch following the banking crisis and uncertainty as the United States sought to reach a debt ceiling resolution to avoid an unprecedented default.

US equities advanced, outperforming developed markets, except the US, (+3.0% for the MSCI World ex-US Index) on better-than-expected economic data and enthusiasm for the adoption of AI-related technologies. Growth-oriented MSCI US Index sectors—such as information technology (+15.7%), consumer discretionary (+13.2%), and communication services (+12.6%)—led the rally, and the broader growth index continued its outperformance over value from the prior quarter. Developed market except-US equity performance was more varied across the major markets. Japanese equities (+6.4%) outperformed on piqued investor interest from news of shareholder friendly reforms, the Bank of Japan maintaining its ultra-easy policy, and reports that famed investor Warren Buffet had become bullish on Japan. The United Kingdom (+2.2%) was embattled with the highest inflation rates among major developed markets and is poised for additional rate hikes. Emerging markets equities (+0.9%) advanced but lagged developed market peers for the fourth consecutive quarter. Many emerging market central banks paused rate hikes—having begun their tightening cycles prior to develop markets central banks—as inflation rates approached their policy targets.

US fixed income assets (-0.8% for the Bloomberg US Aggregate Bond Index) mostly declined, as debt ceiling fears sent Treasury yields higher and credit default swap spreads soared to all-time highs. Yields rose as investors also priced in continued hawkish sentiment from the Federal Reserve, given strong economic data. Still, the two major yield curve spreads (the ten-year/two-year and ten-year/three-month) inverted further, reinforcing heightened risks of recession.

We continue to monitor portfolio exposures and review portfolio positioning carefully, rebalancing in order to lock in recent equity gains and remain in line with the targeted risk profile. The portfolios continue to remain well-diversified with ample liquidity.