Moderate fund increase as equities eclipse bonds

Charity funds gained only 2 per cent in the first quarter of 2007, according to new figures from fund analyst WM Performance Services.

The gain is attributed to the good performance of European equities, which recovered from a volatile period early in the year to produce returns of more than 4 per cent. UK equities returned lower at 3 per cent.

UK property gained 2 per cent, but UK government conventional and index-linked bonds produced negative returns.

"This year has started off with slightly duller returns than we have been used to for several years," said John Hildebrand, head of charities at Investec Asset Management.

"Charities that were biased towards equities and not towards bonds will have done slightly better because bonds suffered from fears of further inflation, whereas equities continued to benefit from a high level of corporate activity - Alliance Boots, J Sainsbury, Cadbury Schweppes, Scottish & Newcastle and Imperial Tobacco all performed strongly."

Mark Johnson, a director at BlackRock Investment Management, said: "Charity investors have benefited from a continuation of the global economic growth, healthy company profits and relatively low real interest rates we saw in 2006.

"This has fuelled a boom in merger and acquisition activity, which has helped a number of markets to multi-year highs. However, the ride will get bumpier over the rest of the year as economic conditions weaken."

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