Major Asset Classes | January 2023 | Performance Review

Global markets roared back to life in January, led by US real estate shares. The only slice of the major asset classes that lost ground last month: commodities, based on a set of proxy ETFs.

Vanguard US Real Estate (VNQ) surged more than 10% in the opening month of 2023. The rise repairs a bit of the damage the ETF suffered last year, when it posted a 26% loss – the deepest slide for the major asset classes in 2022.

The only loss in January: commodities. The slight setback for iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust (GSG) last month barely dents the fund’s recent gains. In 2022, GSG posted a strong increase. Other than a modest gain for cash (SHV), commodities were an upside outlier last year.

The Global Market Index (GMI) posted a solid rebound in January. 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 jumped 6.6% last month, more than reversing its loss in the final month of last year.

Reviewing GMI’s performance relative to US stocks (VTI) and bonds (BND) over the past year reflects rebounding performances in close alignment lately. Results will surely diverge for these investment benchmarks in the months ahead, but for the moment there’s an unusually close relationship as risk assets recover.

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By James Picerno