July delivered a strong month of rebounding prices for the major asset classes. The red ink that dominated the numbers for June gave way to across-the-board gains last month, with US stocks leading the way. The Global Market Index (GMI), a markets-weighted, unmanaged mix of the major asset classes, posted a strong 3.5% increase in July–its best monthly advance in more than a year. For 2013 through the end of last month, GMI is up a respectable 6.5%.
Although recovery brought some relief to asset classes in July, US equities continue to dominate the horse race. On a year-to-date-basis through July 31, domestic stocks (Russell 3000) is far and away in the lead with a 20%-plus advance. Indeed, several of the major asset classes are still posting declines for the year through last month. Meanwhile, the second-best performing asset class year to date, based on the definitions below: foreign developed-market stocks (MSCI EAFE), which climbed 9.6% so far in 2013. Even so, that’s less than half the increase for US stocks.
If you’ve been underweight US equities this year, the choice has come at a price. But with domestic stocks posting red-hot gains, one might wonder about the odds for a repeat performance for the rest of the year.