Target date funds experienced their fourth consecutive quarter of positive gains during the first quarter, according to Ibbotson Associates.
Of 332 funds with at least a one-year track record included in the study, the average increase was 3.8 percent for the quarter and 42.6 percent over a period of 12 months.
According to Tom Idzorek, chief investment officer and director of research, the funds were boosted by climbing markets and gains in most asset classes.
The best performers for the period included U.S. small-cap-value equity and real estate, which both saw a return of 10 percent. Meanwhile, in fixed-income categories, high-yield bonds led the way with a 4.6 percent return for the period.
Finally, over the past 12 months, real estate experienced returns of 106.7 percent, followed by emerging-markets equity, with a return of 81.6 percent.