The Northward Equity Income Fund (NEIF) gained +3.24% for the March quarter before franking. Income distribution for the fund was 1.94 cents per unit constituting a running yield of 8.28%. Grossed up to include franking credits the yield was 9.46%
The March 2015 quarter was a strong period for income with significant dividend income accruing from Commonwealth Bank, BHP Billiton, Woolworths, Woodside Petroleum, Telstra and Wesfarmers. Option income was also robust with significant premium from selling puts and calls over Telstra, CSL, Macquarie Group, Lend Lease and James Hardie Industries.
The S&P/ASX100 Accumulation Index closed up 10.6% for the quarter after a flat return in March following the very strong conditions of January and February. The market gave a little ground after the RBA decided to leave the cash rate at 2.25%.
International markets were mixed. The European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) ramping up of quantitative easing drove European markets higher with Germany and France leading the way. Germany gained +4.9% for the month and +22.0% for the quarter, and France gained 1.7% for the month and 17.8% for the quarter. The US lagged as the market continued to be pre occupied by the timing of the Fed tightening cycle. The S&P500 declined 1.7% for the month and gained 0.4% for the quarter. Stronger US data emerged with US employers adding 295,000 jobs in February and unemployment falling to 5.5%. This prompted “concerns” that the economy might be travelling well enough to raise the Federal (Fed) funds rate. The stronger data led to a strengthening US dollar (USD) with the greenback climbing 4c against the Australia dollar (AUD) at one point before the AUD closed at 0.761USD.