Monday marks the first day of trading in 2016, but before moving on, below is a look at the performance of various asset classes (price change, not total return) for the full year 2015 using key ETFs traded on U.S. exchanges.
While December ended up solidly in the red for U.S. equities, if it weren't for a strong Q4, major indices would have finished much deeper in negative territory than they did.
Growth ETFs outperformed value ETFs by a wide margin in 2015, while large-caps outperformed small-caps as well. Looking at the ten S&P 500 sectors, we saw gains for Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Healthcare and Technology, and losses for Financials, Industrials, Materials, Telecom and Utilities. Energy was in its own category altogether with a decline of 23.8%. For two years in a row now, the Energy sector has underperformed the S&P 500 by more than 20 percentage points. That has only happened to a sector versus the market five other times.
Outside of the U.S., Brazil finished down the most with a decline of 43.45%. Canada was actually the second worst of the country ETFs shown with a decline of 25.5%. Japan was the biggest gainer at +7.83%.
The broad commodities ETF ended 2015 down 27.59%, led lower by oil and natural gas. Gold and silver didn't help either, though, as both fell 10%+. Finally, Treasury ETFs all closed lower than where they started the year, although on a total return basis they were slightly positive.
Best of luck to all for a prosperous 2016!