March was kind to US equities. The domestic stock market gained 3.9% last month. Foreign REITs performed nearly as well with a 3.8% advance. Bonds, by contrast, struggled last month, with a broad investment-grade measure of US fixed-income rising only 0.1%. The big loser in the month just passed: emerging market stocks, which shed 1.7%, in part because of a stronger dollar in March. The US Dollar Index rose again in March and for the year so far has increased by 8.1%. The greenback’s strength has been a significant headwind for foreign assets after translating results into US dollars.
Meanwhile, the Global Market Index—a passive, market-value weighted mix of all the major asset classes—gained 1.3% in March. And in the first quarter, GMI increased 3.8%, largely due to handsome gains in stocks in the US and foreign developed-market nations.