US REITs Rebound, Leading Most Markets Higher

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) in the US shot up last week, posting the biggest gain among the major asset classes, based on a set of proxy ETFs. The gain marks the strongest weekly advance for the sector since September.

Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ) climbed 4.0% over the five trading days through Dec. 9. The strong gain surprised some investors, given that REITs tend to be yield-sensitive investments and interest rates have been rising lately. The 10-year Treasury rate on Friday reached its highest level (2.47%) since last June, based on daily numbers via But some analysts advise that REITs can do well in a rising-interest-rate environment if economic growth is picking up, which has become the prevailing narrative after Donald Trump’s election victory last month.

Bonds, however, haven’t been invited to the party. All of last week’s losers were confined to fixed-income funds. The biggest slide was in foreign investment-grade bonds in developed markets: SPDR Bloomberg Barclays International Treasury Bond ETF (BWX) fell 1.4% for the week through Dec. 9.

The broad trend, however, was unmistakably bullish last week, via an ETF-based version of the Global Markets Index (GMI.F). This investable, unmanaged benchmark that holds all the major asset classes in market-value weights gained a strong 2.0% in the week just passed.


Meantime, emerging-market stocks grabbed the top spot for one-year results. Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (VWO) is currently posting a 15.8% total return for the trailing 252-trading-day period via numbers published by Yahoo Finance.

Foreign investment-grade corporate bonds are in last place among the major asset classes for one-year performance. PowerShares International Corporate Bond (PICB) is off 2.9% for the past 12 months.

Markets generally, however, are trending higher at the moment: GMI.F is up a solid 7.0% over the past 252 trading days.


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