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Canadian investment plans squeaked out a positive first quarter, with rising equities offsetting a challenging bond environment, a report from CIBC Mellon says.

The BNY Mellon Canadian Master Trust Universe, which tracks 87 Canadian corporate, public and university pension plans managing $291 billion in assets, saw a median return of 0.6% in Q1.

Plan sponsors relied on equities to achieve narrowly positive results amid negative fixed-income returns.

The median plan posted a quarterly return of 7.70% for equities, the report said, while fixed-income returns of -5.18% dragged on managers. The S&P/TSX composite index returned 8.05% in Q1, while the return for the FTSE Canada Universe Bond index in the first quarter was -5.04%.

“Canadian plans have continued to be resilient, and despite depressed fixed-income returns, the equities segment has continued to achieve solid performance in all major markets,” said Catherine Thrasher, head of strategic client solutions and global risk solutions, CIBC Mellon and BNY Mellon, in a statement.

Private equity investments delivered a quarterly median return of 4.06%, the report said, while real estate returned 1.65% and hedge funds 1.55%.

Among the plans examined, Canadian foundations and endowments performed best, with median performance of 2.56%, followed by universities at 2.18%.