US Stocks Led Broad-Based Gains In Major Asset Classes Last Week

American shares led a global rally for the trading week ended Aug. 28, based on a set of exchange-traded funds. With the exception of investment-grade bonds in the US, risk-on sentiment lifted every corner of the major asset classes.

Leading the gains: Vanguard Total US Stock Market (VTI), which rallied 3.2%. The rise marked the fund’s fifth straight weekly advance. With one trading day left in August, equities in America are on track to post the month’s strongest gain in over three decades.

Stocks in emerging markets and an equal-weighted measure of a broad set of commodities posted the second- and third-strongest gains, respectively, last week.

Former Indian central banker Raghuram Rajan says that the Federal Reserve’s announcement last week that it was adjusting its monetary policy to focus on average inflation targeting and keeping interest rates lower for longer is bullish for economies in the developing world. “The Fed has bought some room for the emerging markets,” he tells Bloomberg.

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Last week’s biggest (and only) loser among the major asset classes: investment-grade bonds in the US. Vanguard Total US Bond Market (BND) lost 0.6% — the fund’s second weekly decline in the past three. At the close of trading on Friday, BND was close to a two-month low.

The Global Markets Index (GMI.F) continued to rise, marking its ninth straight weekly increase. This unmanaged benchmark, which holds all the major asset classes (except cash) in market-value weights via ETFs, rallied 1.9%.

For the one-year trend, US stocks continued to solidify their leadership position. Vanguard Total US Stock Market (VTI) ended last week with a 23.1% total return over the trailing 12-month period – well ahead of the rest of the field.

Property shares in the US and foreign markets are posting the only one-year losses at the moment. Leading on the downside: Vanguard Global ex-U.S. Real Estate (VNQI), which closed with a 7.1% decline on Friday vs. the year-ago price on a total-return basis.

GMI.F, by contrast, is up with a strong 13.5% gain for the trailing one-year window.

Ranking asset classes based on current drawdown continues to show that a broad measure of commodities has the deepest peak-to-trough decline. WisdomTree Continuous Commodity Index Fund (GCC), which tracks the Thomson Reuters Equal Weight Continuous Commodity Total Return Index, is currently posting a 44.1% drawdown.

GMI.F, on the other hand, ended last week with a zero drawdown.

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