Emerging Markets Stocks’ Months-Long Rally Rolled On Last Week

Another week, another gain for shares in emerging markets, which posted the strongest increase for the major asset classes over the trading week through January 10, based on a set of exchange traded funds.

Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (VWO) rose 1.2% last week, marking the sixth straight weekly advance for the fund. Except for a three-week lull in November, VWO has increased in every week since late-September.

The rally continued in overseas trading today, fueled by reports that the US and China will sign a partial trade deal this week. “With most of the broad strokes of a rather limited deal already revealed, what markets will be watching for more closely will be the precise legal wording of the deal,” advises Vishnu Varathan, a senior economist at Mizuho Bank.

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Last week’s big loser: commodities. Notably, crude oil fell amid the easing of Mideast tensions. Prices spiked following the US drone attack that killed Iran’s top general the week before, but the risk premium has faded in recent days as signs emerged that the threat of an escalating conflict receded. The shift in perceptions weighed on iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust (GSG), which tumbled 3.0% last week – the first weekly loss for the fund since late-November.

The rally in stocks generally last week helped lift an ETF-based version of the Global Market Index (GMI.F) — an unmanaged benchmark that holds all the major asset classes (except cash) in market-value weights. GMI.F rose 0.5% over the five trading days through Jan. 10.

For the one-year trend (252 trading days), US equities continue to lead among the major asset classes. Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) is up 27.0% on a total return basis. That’s a modest edge over the second-best one-year gain, posted by US real estate investment trusts (REITs) via Vanguard Real Estate (VNQ), which is ahead by 23.3% for the trailing one-year window.

All the major asset classes are enjoying gains over the past 12 months. The weakest rally is currently in foreign bonds. SPDR Bloomberg Barclays International Treasury Bond (BWX) is up a relatively mild 4.0% for the year through Friday’s close.

Meantime, GMI.F continues to post a strong one-year gain: 18.4% after factoring in distributions.

Reviewing the ETFs listed above through a momentum lens shows that bullish sentiment prevails across the board. The analysis is based on two sets of moving averages. The first compares the 10-day moving average with its 100-day counterpart — a proxy for short-term trending behavior (red line in chart below). A second set of moving averages (50 and 200 days) represent the intermediate measure of the trend (blue line). As of Friday’s close, all the funds are reflecting upside trend signals for both short- and medium-term trailing windows.

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