Major Asset Classes - December 2017 - Performance Review

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Includes: BXUB, BXUC, CHGX, CRF, DDM, DIA, DMRL, DOG, DUSA, DXD, EEH, EPS, EQL, ESGL, FEX, FWDD, GSEW, HUSV, IVV, IWL, IWM, JHML, JKD, OTPIX, PMOM, PPLC, PPSC, PSQ, QID-OLD, QLD, QQEW, QQQ, QQQE, QQXT, RSP, RVRS, RWM, RYARX, RYRSX, SCAP, SCHX, SDOW, SDS, SFLA, SH, SMLL, SPDN, SPLX, SPSM, SPUU, SPXE, SPXL, SPXN, SPXS, SPXT, SPXU-OLD, SPXV, SPY, SQQQ, SRTY, SSO, SYE, TNA, TQQQ, TWM, TZA, UDOW, UDPIX, UPRO, URTY, USA, USMC, USSD, USWD, UWM, VFINX, VOO, VTWO, VV, ZF
by: James Picerno

The major asset classes enjoyed a flawless bull run in 2017, courtesy of across-the-board gains for all the broad measures of the global markets. Even cash managed to eke out a small gain.

Leading the way higher: MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which posted a strong 37.3% total return in 2017 - by far the best increase among the major asset classes. The second strongest rise was in foreign real estate/REITs via the S&P Global ex-REIT Index, which jumped 26.6%.

The US stock market had a good year in 2017 too. The Russell 3000 was up 21.1%, which ranks as the fourth-best return for the year just passed.

Cash delivered the weakest advance for the major asset classes last year: the S&P US Treasury Bill 0-3 Month Index edged up 0.8%.

The Global Market Index (GMI) closed the year with an impressive run. This unmanaged benchmark that holds all the major asset classes in market value weights posted gains in every month for 2017. The bullish momentum lifted GMI by an impressive 17.4% last year - the sharpest advance in a single calendar year since 2003, when the benchmark surged 23%.