Major Asset Classes | July 2017 | Performance Review

A bullish tailwind lifted all the major asset classes in July, delivering across-the-board monthly gains (except for a fractional loss in cash) for the first time since January. Stocks in emerging markets (MSCI EM) led field higher, rising 6.0% last month – the strongest monthly total return for the index in more than a year.

US investment-grade bonds (Bloomberg Aggregate) were at the tail end of last month’s rally, advancing a thin 0.4% in July. Foreign bonds, by contrast, surged, largely due to a weak dollar last month. Foreign high-yield bonds (Markit Global ex-US HY), for instance, popped 4.1%. Year-to-date, junk bonds in foreign markets are up a sizzling 16.4%.

Except for commodities and cash, all corners of the global markets are sitting on gains so far in 2017. Emerging-markets equities are in the lead on this front, too, posting a red-hot 25.5% total return year to date.

The Global Market Index (GMI) in July posted its best monthly advance since February. GMI, an unmanaged benchmark that holds all the major asset classes in market-value weights, advanced 2.1% in the kick-off to the third quarter. The increase marks the benchmark’s eighth consecutive monthly rise. Year to date, GMI’s total return is a strong 10.7%.