Norway’s wealth fund posts $84 billion quarterly profit

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by Reuters

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Norway’s wealth fund posts $84 billion quarterly profit

OSLO (Reuters) -Norway's $1.4 trillion sovereign wealth fund, one of the world's largest investors, on Friday posted a 5.9% return on investment for the first quarter boosted by rising equity markets.

"It's actually one of the strongest quarters we ever had," Deputy CEO Trond Grande said in a video posted on LinkedIn.

Despite market turmoil in March amid concerns of a new banking crisis, equity markets provided the biggest boost for the fund, with a nearly 8% gain, he said.

Meanwhile, falling interest rates benefited its bond portfolio, which returned almost 3%.

"The rise of the equity market was to a great extent driven by the technology and consumer discretionary sector," Grande said in a statement.

The profit of 893 billion Norwegian crowns ($83.89 billion) contrasted with a loss of 653 billion a year earlier.

Norway has a population of just 5.5 million, meaning the result works out to more than $15,000 per person.

However, the return was 0.06 percentage point below its benchmark index, said the fund, which has posted positive annual relative returns since 2009.

The fund, which saves revenue from Norway's large oil and gas industry, received 217 billion crowns in fresh government funds during the quarter.

Some 70% of the assets were held in stocks as of March 31, while 27.3% was invested in fixed income, 2.4% in unlisted real estate and 0.1% in unlisted renewable energy infrastructure.

Norway's central bank manages the fund, which owns 1.5% of all globally listed shares and has stakes in 9,200 companies.

It posted a record loss of 1.64 trillion crowns last year.

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