Global equities, real estate and commodities posted solid gains last week, offsetting losses in bonds. Overall, it was a mixed week for the major asset classes, but an upside bias clearly dominated.
Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) topped the winner’s list for the trading week ended Friday, Jan. 18. The ETF rose 2.9%, marking the fourth straight weekly increase and lifting the fund to its highest close since Dec. 4.
According to one analyst’s outlook, the US stock market’s strong rebound so far in 2019 has room to run. Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research sees equities making new record highs this year, in part due to a contrarian snapback effect.
“At the end of last year the bull-bear ratio, which is something we watch from Investors Intelligence, fell below one [a low level based on recent history]” Yardeni observed on Friday. “It’s got an awfully good track record as a contrary indicator.”
Meantime, last week’s biggest setback for the major asset classes: foreign bonds in developed markets. SPDR Bloomberg Barclays International Treasury Bond (BWX) fell 0.7%. The decline is the ETF’s first weekly slide in a month.
Last week’s upside bias overall lifted an ETF-based version of the Global Markets Index (GMI.F). This investable, unmanaged benchmark that holds all the major asset classes in market-value weights increased 1.6% last week, marking the fourth straight weekly gain for the benchmark.
Turning to the one-year trend, most of the major asset classes remain underwater for this trailing period. The main exception: real estate investment trusts (REITs) in the US. Vanguard Real Estate (VNQ) increased 6.5% in total return terms as of Friday’s close vs. the year-earlier level.
The biggest decline for the one-year window is in emerging market stocks. Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (VWO) has shed a steep 15.8% over the past year.
GMI.F, by contrast, is down by roughly 5% over the trailing 12-month period.
Profiling the major asset classes via drawdown shows that Vanguard Total Bond Market (BND) continues to post the smallest peak-to-trough decline: less than a 1% slide, as of Friday’s close.
Meanwhile, broadly defined commodities still suffer from the biggest current drawdown. The iPath Bloomberg Commodity (DJP) has lost slightly more than 50% from its previous peak.
GMI.F’s current drawdown: -6.9%.