Emerging-market equities led stock markets around the world higher for the trading week through July 15, based on a set of ETF proxies for the major asset classes. By contrast, most fixed-income categories tumbled last week.
The big winner: Vanguard FTSE Emerging Market (VWO). Last week’s strong 3.3% total return pushed the ETF to its highest close in nearly a year.
Meanwhile, government bonds in foreign developed markets fell hard last week in US dollar terms. SPDR Barclays International Treasury (BWX) shed 1.5% for the five trading days through July 15, the biggest loss for the major asset classes. The slide left the ETF at its lowest close since June 27.
Last week’s strong equity gains overwhelmed the bond losses for the Global Markets Index (GMI.F). This investable, unmanaged benchmark that holds all the major asset classes in market-value weights climbed 1.0% for the five trading days through Friday.
For the trailing one-year returns, US real estate investment trusts (REITs) continue to lead the field by a wide margin. Vanguard REIT (VNQ) is up a bit more than 20% for the year through July 15—roughly double the return for the number-two performer (BWX) in the trailing one-year column.
“The number one thing that has been concerning clients all year, underlying everything, has been the low yield environment,” says Sheila Patel, CEO of International Goldman Sachs Asset Management, in an interview with CNBC. “People have looked look to REITs as a source of yield when the bond market hasn’t been able to provide it.”
Meantime, commodities broadly defined have sunk back into last place for the trailing 252-trading day horse race among the major asset classes. The iPath Bloomberg Commodity ETN (DJP) has lost nearly 14% for the year through last Friday—far below GMI.F’s modest 1.5% gain for the past 12 months.