Major Asset Classes | April 2023 | Performance Review

Most of the major asset classes continued to rebound in April, led by property shares ex-US, based on a set of ETF proxies. The downside outliers: foreign government bonds in developed markets, stocks in emerging markets and commodities.

Vanguard Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Index (VNQI) headed the rallies last month, posting a strong 4.1% return in April. The gain marks VNQI’s first monthly advance since January.

Stocks in developed markets ex-US also had a good month. Vanguard Developed Markets Index Fund (VEA) rose 2.6% in April, the second-best performer for April. The ETF is the top performer this year for the major asset classes with a 10.9% year-to-date increase. VEA’s recent strength suggests that outperformance for multi-asset-class strategies in 2023 is associated with relatively high exposure to foreign stocks in developed markets.

The deepest loss last month: inflation-indexed bonds ex-US. SPDR FTSE International Government Inflation-Protected Bond ETF (WIP) declined 1.4% in April, reversing a portion of the strong gain in March. For the year so far, WIP is up 4.4%.

The Global Market Index (GMI) continued to recover in April, rising 1.2%.  This unmanaged benchmark (maintained by holds all the major asset classes (except cash) in market-value weights and represents a competitive benchmark for multi-asset-class portfolios. GMI is now up by a strong 7.6% year to date.

Reviewing GMI’s performance in context with US stocks (VTI) and bonds (BND) over the past year shows a tight range of comparable results. GMI’s one-year performance is a thin 0.7% gain, which leads equities and fixed income by a slight degree over the past 12 months, based on a trailing 252-trading-day window.

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