Across-The-Board Gains For Markets Last Week

Buyers lifted prices in all the major asset classes last week, based on a set of exchange-traded products. The gains mark the first run of uniformly positive weekly results in three months.

The leading performer for last week: foreign stock markets in developed nations. Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets (VEA) rose 1.9% in the holiday shortened four trading days through Nov. 24.

Inflation-indexed Treasuries posted the weakest gain for the major asset classes last week. The iShares TIPS Bond (TIP) inched up two basis points, squeezing out its second weekly advance.

For the third week in a row, all the major asset classes are in the black for one-year results, too. Leading the field higher: equities in emerging markets. Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (VWO) is currently posting a 30.6% total return.

“Emerging markets are seeing synchronized pickup in economic growth across the board,” says Rajiv Jain, manager of GQG Partners Emerging Markets Equity fund (GQGPX).

That revival is the fruit of good policies born out of bad times. Brazil, India, Russia, and even China implemented reforms after their heavy borrowing during the good times caught up with their currencies. Now, current account deficits have narrowed sharply in many of these countries, budget deficits have fallen, and currencies are sensibly valued. That has led to better earnings growth.

The weakest performer for the one-year trend: broadly defined commodities. The iPath Bloomberg Commodity (DJP) was ahead 2.4% at Friday’s close vs. the year-earlier level. The ETN’s one-year return has been consistently positive throughout this month so far.