“There were major fluctuations in the equity market in this period. The year started with optimism, but the outlook of the equity market quickly turned when the Corona virus started to spread globally,” Deputy CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management Trond Grande said in a statement.
The fund’s total market value at the end of the six months was 10.4 trillion kroner, with 69.6% invested in equities, 27.6% in fixed income and 2.8% in unlisted real estate. Its equity investments fell -6.8% and its real estate returned -1.6% over the first half, although its fixed-income investments rose by 5.1%.
The Norwegian fund said it saw negative returns in most markets through to the end of June, with North America stocks, which accounts for almost 44% of its equity portfolio, slipping 2.6% over the period.
European stocks returned -11.7% for the first half of 2020 and accounted for 31.6% of the fund’s equities.
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region returned -4.6% and made up 23% of the fund’s equity investments. Meanwhile, emerging markets returned -7.3% and accounted for 11.5% of the portfolio.
Oil and gas stocks were the worst performers for the first half of the year, with a return of -33.1%. “This was due mainly to a slide in oil prices in the first quarter as a result of both weak demand on account of the pandemic and an increase in supply from Saudi Arabia,” the fund said.
Conversely, tech stocks were the period’s best performers with a positive return of 14.2%. “Strong demand for online solutions for working, education, shopping and entertainment due to the coronavirus pandemic contributed to this strong return,” it added.