Major Asset Classes | March 2023 | Performance Review

Most asset classes rebounded in March, led by inflation-indexed government bonds ex-US, based on a set of ETF proxies. The downside outlier: real estate shares in the US and around the world.

The performance leader last month: SPDR FTSE International Government Inflation-Protected Bond ETF (WIP), which rose 5.2%, more than recovering from the previous month’s loss. The gain marks WIP’s strongest month since last November and lift’s the fund’s year-to-date gain to 5.9%, the third-best rally so far in 2023 for the major asset classes.

The majority of global markets also posted gains in March, with the exception of a slight loss for broadly defined commodities (GSG) and sharp declines for US and foreign property shares.

Vanguard Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Index Fund (VNQI) posted last month’s steepest loss, shedding 2.8%. The slide leaves the fund with a modest year-to-date loss. The only other asset class in the red for 2023 is commodities (GSG), which is down 5.2%.

The Global Market Index (GMI) posted a strong rebound in March, rising 2.8%.  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 an impressive 6.3% year to date.

Reviewing GMI’s performance in context with US stocks (VTI) and bonds (BND) over the past year shows GMI posting middling results. Stocks are modestly trailing GMI over the past year while bonds are outperforming by a comparatively wide margin.

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By James Picerno