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These stocks drove the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund to its best returns

Key Points
  • Norwegian oil fund grew 2.6 percent in the second quarter.
  • Equity holdings provide the bulk of the growth.
  • Fund administrator warns future growth won't be so rapid.
These stocks drove the world's largest sovereign wealth fund to its best returns

Norway's rainy day pot of cash has outperformed its own benchmark thanks to the second quarter surge in equity markets.

The $975 billion fund is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world and is bolstered by revenue from sales of oil.

Nestle, China's and Swiss company Novartis made the biggest positive contributions as the fund rose by 2.6 percent across the quarter.

, and were identified by fund administrator Norges Bank as having made the biggest negative impact.

Overall stock investments returned 3.4 percent, while fixed income investments returned 1.1 percent. Investments in unlisted real estate returned 2.1 percent.

In a statement Tuesday, Trond Grande, deputy chief executive officer of Norges Bank Investment Management said equities were crucial to the fund performance.

"The stock markets have performed particularly well so far this year, and the funds return in the first two quarters was 6.5 percent.

"This gives a total return of 499 billion crowns ($63.1 billion), which is the best half-year return measured in Norwegian crowns in the history of the fund," he added

Grande noted both the positive effect of currency swings and the outperformance of European stocks to warn that future returns were unlikely to remain so healthy.

Norway taps oil fund for the first time

The bank noted the fund had a market value of 8,020 billion kroner ($1.01 trillion) as at 30 June 2017. Of which 65.1 percent was invested in equities, 32.4 percent in fixed income and 2.5 percent in unlisted real estate.

As of Tuesday, the value was freshly assessed at $975 billion.

In the second quarter, 16 billion kroner ($2 billion) was withdrawn from the fund by the government.

This withdrawal marks a relatively new trend as in January 2016 the Norwegian government made the first ever withdrawal to address a slowing economy.