Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global has incurred losses from its Chinese and Japanese equity holdings, contributing to its stock returns trailing bonds and real estate over the first three months of the year.The NOK5.1trn (€617bn) fund’s Chinese equity investments, which returned -6.1%, accounted for more than a quarter of the listed emerging market portfolio at the end of March, and significantly underperformed its average EM equity holdings, with the portfolio returning -0.5% overall.According to the fund’s first-quarter report, Japanese equities also lost 5% “due primarily to weaker demand and a fall in consumer confidence”, with shares in Asia and Oceania overall seeing negative returns.Fixed income outperformed equity during the first quarter of the year, with euro-denominated sovereign debt returning 3.5% compared with 2.4% from Japanese government issuances and 1.8% from US Treasury notes. The fund also increased its EM debt holdings over the course of the quarter, largely divesting holdings in the four main currencies of US dollar, yen, euro and pound sterling in favour of a 1.3 percentage point increase to EM currency.“The biggest increases in holdings were in Brazilian, Turkish and Mexican government bonds, while the biggest decreases were in government bonds issued by the US, Germany and Sweden,” the report noted.While Brazilian sovereign debt was not among the fund’s 10 largest bond holdings at the end of last year, by the end of March it had risen to be the fund’s sixth-largest fixed income holding, behind NOK45bn in Mexican government debt and ahead of NOK38bn in Italian sovereign paper.The fund also suffered losses on its Russian debt, following the political crisis in the Ukraine.“Geopolitical uncertainty led to the weakening of the rouble, and the Central Bank of Russia raised its rates in an effort to stem the decline,” the report noted. “This resulted in a return of -9.7% on the fund’s Russian government bonds in the first quarter.”Asset manager Norges Bank Investment Management also continued to grow its real estate holdings over the course of the first quarter, with property returning 2%.“Measured in local currency, rental income contributed 1.1 percentage points of the return, the net change in the value of properties and debt 1.2 percentage points and transaction costs for property purchases -0.2 percentage points,” the report noted, adding that currency fluctuations led to a 0.1% decline in returns.
USC looks to ride the momentum from Tuesday night’s come-from-behind victory against UC Santa Barbara into its Pac-10 series with Oregon this weekend in Eugene, Ore.Struggling · Sophomore starter Ben Mount (3-3, 3.77 ERA) has not recorded a victory since his April 2 start against Oregon State. – Avi Kushlan | Daily Trojan The Trojans will be trying to notch their first conference series win of the season against the No. 18 Ducks (25-12, 6-6).Trailing 8-0 late in Tuesday’s matchup at Dedeaux Field, USC (16-20, 2-10) scored two times in the seventh, twice in the eighth and four more times in the bottom of the ninth to steal a victory against UCSB. Senior outfielder Mike O’Neill scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch to seal the deal for USC, which had lost six contests in a row.Oregon is also riding high after taking two of three last weekend against then-No. 1 UCLA. The Ducks won the first two games of the series before dropping last Sunday’s finale, 5-1. Oregon also defeated Gonzaga twice this week in non-conference action and has won seven of its last 10 games.USC coach Chad Kreuter will send out sophomore starter Andrew Triggs tonight at 7 p.m. in the series opener. The right-hander (1-6, 4.14 ERA) has not earned a win since his first start of the season. In his last outing against Arizona State, Triggs went five innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on four hits. He struck out five.Triggs’ counterpart will be Oregon sophomore Tyler Anderson. The Ducks’ left-hander is 5-3 with a 2.63 ERA this season. He’s racked up 55 strikeouts in 54 and two-third innings pitched. In his last start against UCLA, Anderson allowed four runs on five hits in four and two-third innings in the Ducks’ 5-4 victory against UCLA.Trojans’ sophomore Ben Mount will take the ball in Saturday’s 5 p.m. matchup. In 10 games this season (eight starts), Mount is 3-3 with a 3.77 ERA and 40 strikeouts. Opposing Mount will be Oregon’s Justin LaTempa. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.35 ERA and 34 strikeouts.Sunday’s 12 p.m. series finale will square Oregon’s Alex Kuedell (4-4, 3-20) against USC. Kreuter has yet to decide a starter for the game, but his decision will mostly likely come down to senior Kevin Couture (2-1, 6.75) or sophomore Chad Smith (4-5, 4.46).The Ducks are batting .276 on the season with a staff ERA of 2.92, while the Trojans’ hitters have tallied a .285 batting average and their pitching has compiled a 4.79 ERA.Catcher Eddie Rodriguez has been the Ducks’ leader on offense so far this season. He tops the team with a .331 batting average, .424 slugging percentage and .398 on-base percentage. He has hit two home runs to go along with 24 RBI.USC leads the all-time series against Oregon, 19-2, and it swept the Ducks last season at Dedeaux Field. Tonight’s game will mark the first time USC baseball has played in Eugene since 1969.