Stocks In Foreign Developed Markets Led Gainers Last Week

Shares in foreign developed-market nations topped returns last week for the major asset classes. After retreating for two weeks, this corner of global equity markets rebounded and led a wide-ranging rally in risk assets for the trading week through Aug. 7, based on a set of exchange-traded funds.

Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets (VEA) rose 2.9% last week. The gain marks the fund’s best weekly advance since May. Despite the rally, VEA has been a relative laggard over the past three months compared with the rise in US stocks (VTI) and shares in emerging markets (VWO).

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By James Picerno

Most of the major asset classes rose last week. The exception: foreign bonds. The worst performer for the week just passed: foreign inflation-indexed government bonds. After a run of three weekly gains, SPDR FTSE International Government Inflation-Protected Bond (WIP) backtracked with a 0.9% loss.

The Global Markets Index (GMI.F) continued to rally last week. This unmanaged benchmark, which holds all the major asset classes (except cash) in market-value weights via ETFs, rose 1.8% — the index’s sixth consecutive weekly gain.

For the one-year trend, US stocks are again in first place. Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) ended last week with a 17.6% total return for the trailing 12-month period (252 trading days).

Emerging-market stocks are in second place for the past year via Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (VWO), which is up 12.2% as of Friday’s close.

Broadly defined commodities remain dead last for the one-year change. Although iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust (GSG) has rallied in recent weeks, the fund is down 25.1% for the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, GMI.F posted a strong 10.3% total return for the trailing one-year period.

Ranking asset classes based on current drawdown continues to show that eight of the 14 major asset classes are posting fractional current drawdowns. The smallest: a thin 0.1% peak-to-trough decline for a broad measure of investment-grade US bonds via Vanguard Total Bond Market (BND). At the opposite extreme: commodities, based on GSG’s steep 69.1% drawdown.

GMI.F’s current drawdown is a slight 0.2% dip below its previous peak at last week’s close.

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