June was another strong month for returns across the board. Red ink was banished among the major asset classes for the third time this year on a monthly calendar basis. The big winner last month: emerging market stocks, which climbed 2.7% on a total return basis in June–the fifth straight monthly gain for this slice of equities. Ignoring the perennially flat performance of cash (3-month T-bills), last month’s “loser”: US investment-grade bonds in broad terms via the Barclays Aggregate Index, which advanced a mere 0.05% in June.
Given the bullish tailwind, it’s no surprise to find that June was kind to the Global Market Index (GMI), an unmanaged benchmark that holds all the major asset classes in market-value weights. GMI posted its fifth straight monthly gain, rising 1.4% in June. For the year so far, GMI is up a solid 5.7 %.
Even more impressive, GMI’s trailing one-year return is 17%–the highest year-over-year comparison for the benchmark since the mid-way mark in 2011. On a trailing five-year basis, GMI’s 10.9% annualized total return is the most since May 2008. In short, bullish momentum has paid off handsomely. Accordingly, rebalancing and related techniques that seek to keep a healthy balance between greed and fear have all the appeal of a wet dish rag at 2014’s halfway point. Looks can be deceiving, of course, as can rear-view mirrors as they relate to the future. Nonetheless, risk management is a tough sell at the moment and will remain so… until it’s not.