The Northward Equity Income Fund (NEIF) gained 0.38% for the month of May against the S&P/ASX 100 Accumulation Index gain of 0.25%. Option income was strong for the month (+0.50%) and was mainly captured from National Australia Bank, Westpac Banking Corporation, ANZ Bank, Telstra Corporation, CSR Limited, Macquarie Group and CSL Limited. The fund’s average market exposure during May was 46% and continues to be less than half the market exposure of the Index. The S&P/ASX 100 Accumulation Index closed higher over May after declining 2.85% early in the month. The banks weighed heavily on the market as growing concerns that capital requirements will tighten and earnings will slow. The May budget released a small business package which was well received by the market and was a boost to consumer confidence. Another rate cut saw the Reserve Bank of Australia reduce the cash rate by 0.25% to a record low of 2%, and this helped support domestic cyclical sectors with consumer names leading the way. Positive Index movers over the course of the month included James Hardie Industries, QBE Insurance and CSL Limited. Westpac Banking Corporation, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ANZ Bank and National Australia Bank were the biggest detractors.
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