The topsy-turvey market of late 2018 contributed to a year of underperformance for most equity managers in 2018, according to new data.

Even amid market volatility, often seen as a positive differentiating factor for managers, most mutual funds fell short of their benchmarks, according to the Year-End 2018 SPIVA U.S. Scorecard, released last week by S&P Dow Jones Indices. In fact, nearly 69 percent of domestic equity mutual funds underperformed their benchmarks, making 2018 the fourth-worst year for U.S. equity managers since 2001.

For the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, real estate funds fared the worst among all active equity funds, with fewer than 12 percent of active real estate funds outperforming the S&P U.S. REIT index.

Among equity styles, small-cap core funds fared the worst, with a little more than 12 percent of active small-cap core managers outperforming the S&P 600.

Large-cap core funds faired the worst among all large-cap equity styles, with fewer than 24 percent of active large-cap core funds outperforming the S&P 500. Just over 64 percent of all large-cap managers fell short of the S&P 500.

The best performing equity managers were in mid-cap growth funds, where nearly 85 percent of mutual funds outperformed the S&P MidCap 400 Growth index. Just under 55 percent of mid-cap mutual funds outperformed the S&P MidCap 400.

The worst performing bond managers were in government intermediate-term mutual funds, where 100 percent of the managers underperformed the Barclays U.S. Government Intermediate index.

Among bond managers, investment-grade, long-term managers fared the best, outperforming the Barclays U.S. Government/Credit Long index nearly 91 percent of the time. Government long-term bond funds performed second best, beating the benchmark Barclays U.S. Government Long index nearly 83 percent of the time.

Yet even 2018’s best funds aren’t guaranteed to beat the benchmarks over the long term. For example, a little more than 8 percent of mid-cap growth funds beat the S&P MidCap 400 Growth index over a 15-year period ending Dec. 31, and less than 7 percent of all mid-cap funds were able to beat the broader S&P MidCap 400 over the same period.

The long-term pattern holds for fixed income as well, where just under 1.5 percent of all investment-grade long funds and less than 2 percent of government long-term funds beat their benchmarks over the 15-year period.