August wasn't a very good month for risky asset classes. Of the 58 key ETFs highlighted below, fixed income, gold, silver, the yen, utilities, and Hong Kong were the only ones in the green during the month. The S&P 500 tracking SPY ETF declined 4.50% in August, the Midcap 400 ETF (IJH) declined 4.89%, and the Smallcap 600 ETF (IJR) declined 7.60%. Financials and Industrials were the worst performing sectors in August, while Utilities, Telecom, Health Care, and Consumer Staples held up the best.
Italy (EWI) was the worst performing country ETF in August with a decline of 8.89%, and France (EWQ) and Germany (EWG) weren't far behind. The major emerging market ETF -- EEM -- actually outperformed most developed countries with an August decline of 3.24%. Oil (USO) got hit hard during the month with a decline of more than 9%, while the natural gas ETF (UNG) did much worse at -22.78%. Gold (GLD) was up 5.71% in August and Silver (SLV) was up 7.68%. Of the major Treasury ETFs, TLT (20-years+) was up a whopping 8.04%.
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