Major Asset Classes | October 2020 | Performance Review

Global markets were mixed in October, with performances led by stocks and bonds in emerging markets, along with broadly defined commodities. The biggest losers for the major asset classes: shares in the US and developed markets and real estate shares around the world.

The clear winner last month: stocks in emerging markets via MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which posted a 2.1% return following September’s decline. Emerging-markets fixed-income was the third strongest performer for the major asset classes in October: FTSE Russell EM Government Bond Index rallied 1.4%.

For the year to date column, markets are reporting a wide range of returns. The strongest gain so far in 2020 is for inflation-indexed US government bonds. The Bloomberg US Treasury Inflation-Linked Index posted an 8.5% total return for the year through October 31.

That’s a long way from the deepest shade of red ink for year-to-date results via foreign property shares. The S&P Global ex-US Property Index is down a hefty 20.4% through last month’s close. US real estate investment trusts are the year’s second-worst performer: MSCI US REIT Index has lost 19.3% so far in 2020 on a total-return basis.

The Global Market Index (GMI) also lost ground last month. This unmanaged benchmark (maintained by, which holds all the major asset classes (except cash) in market-value weights, fell 1.8% in October. The setback marks the second straight monthly decline for GMI.

For the trailing one-year window, on the other hand, GMI continues to post a respectable 5.0% gain. That’s well below the 10.2% one-year total return for US stocks (Russell 3000) and modestly behind US investment-grade bond market’s 6.2% gain, based on the Bloomberg US Aggregate Bond Index.

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By James Picerno