Positive momentum prevailed again last week for the major asset classes, based on a set of proxy ETFs. For the fifth consecutive week through Friday, Mar. 18, the risk-on trade delivered another round of profits across the board. The trailing one-year period still reflects plenty of damage, but the red-ink brigade continued to retreat on this front, leaving the field evenly split among winners and losers.
Emerging-market stocks (VWO) led the winners last week through Mar. 18 with a 2.4% total return. The general upside bias also continued to lift an ETF-based version of the Global Market Index (GMI.F)–a passively managed benchmark that holds all the major asset classes in market-value weights. GMI.F climbed 1.1% last week—the fifth straight weekly gain for the index.
The one-year trailing return is still littered with losses, but repair and recovery rolls on. The current one-year leader: foreign government bonds in developed markets (BWX), which is ahead by more than 5% at the moment on a total-return basis. The previous legacy of selling continues to weigh on GMI.F, however, albeit in a diminishing degree these days. The benchmark is now off by a relatively light 1.8% for the trailing 252-trading-day period through last Friday.
To put the current trailing one-year performance data in perspective, the next chart shows the current one-year total returns (blue dots) for the major asset classes relative to the historical record in recent years. Note that broadly defined commodities (DJP) remain dead last in terms of absolute losses at the moment.