The holiday spending frenzy is well underway as some of the biggest shopping days of the year, including Black Friday…
This week’s chart shows broad asset class returns through July 31st of this year. Perhaps the most surprising performer has been international equity, which has outperformed even U.S. equities. Much of the outperformance is due to the strong U.S. dollar, which has increased international developed countries’ exports. The same factor has in turn contributed to the lower performance of U.S. equities. With so many of the S&P 500 companies’ revenues dependent on international growth (about 46%), the strong dollar has weighed heavily on EPS growth. In addition, the same factors many of our readers have heard before — the slowdown in the energy sector and the cold winter — have also played major roles.
The other darling this year, as widely predicted, has been Real Estate. Throughout the first half of the year, growth has in large part been due to income, lease turnover, and appreciation (most notably in the Southwest U.S.). The remainder of the year is likely to see less contribution from income and more contribution from appreciation.
Now let us turn to the poor performers. Bonds, both Global and U.S., continue their same old story: the specter of the Fed rate hike continues to loom, in addition to the Greek debt crisis and China’s now not-so-secret efforts to prop up growth. Emerging Markets have been the worst performers this year, thanks in large part to their dependence on commodities and the domino effect of China’s slowing growth which has translated into weakening currencies.
Where will the rest of the year take us? As the issues we have discussed will continue to weigh on asset classes, it will not be surprising if meandering to disappointing returns across asset classes continue for the rest of 2015.
1 Real Estate Returns through 6/30/15; Private Equity Returns through 3/31/15
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