U.S. institutional investment plan sponsors reported a sixth straight quarter of losses in the first quarter but ended the period on a positive note, according to data from Northern Trust Corp. in Chicago.

Corporate plans had a median return of negative 6.6% in the quarter, and public funds had a negative 6.3% return. Foundation and endowment plans were strongest, with a median return of negative 5.5%. In the last 12 months, the one-year return on corporate plans declined 27.1%, public funds fell 26.9% and foundations and endowments were down 25.9%.

Northern Trust's data, which was released Thursday, includes more than 300 large institutional investment plans, with a combined asset value of about $530 billion.

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