Major Asset Classes | Jan 2015 | Performance Review

US real estate investment trusts (REITs) remained the performance leader among the major asset classes in the first month of the new year. The MSCI REIT Index climbed a strong 6.8% in January (total return); for the trailing one-year period, US REITs are up a sizzling 33.5%. Meanwhile, January’s biggest loser: foreign high-yield bonds, which tumbled 5.7%, based on the Markit Global ex-US High Yield Index. As for US stocks, the new year arrived with a thud for the formerly soaring asset class: the Russell 3000 Index shed 2.8% last month.

January’s losses weighed on the Global Market Index (GMI), an unmanaged benchmark that holds all the major asset classes in market-value weights. GMI posted a mild setback of 0.8% in the first month of 2015, although for the trailing one-year window the index is still ahead by 5.2%. Nonetheless, the message is loud and clear these days: the diminished risk premia expectations that have been showing up on lately (see last month’s update, for instance) are looking a bit more prescient.