2018 Asset Class Total Return Performance - Bespoke's ETF Matrix

by: Bespoke Investment Group

Below is a final look at 2018 total returns across asset classes using our ETF matrix. For each ETF, we show its December, Q4, and full year 2018 total return.

The S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) finished 2018 down 4.56% on a total return basis after falling 13.52% in Q4 and 8.79% in December. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 (NASDAQ:QQQ) fell 0.12% on the year after dropping 16.73% in Q4. The small-cap Russell 2,000 (NYSEARCA:IWM) fell 11.11% on the year, while mid-caps (NYSEARCA:IJH) fell just a bit more at -11.18%. The Russell 2,000 was down more than 20% in Q4 alone.

Looking at sectors, Health Care (NYSEARCA:XLV) ended up performing the best in 2018 with a total return of +6.28%. Energy (NYSEARCA:XLE) was the biggest loser with a decline of 18.21%.

Outside of the US, China (NYSEARCA:ASHR) fell the most in 2018 with a drop of 28.44%. Germany (NYSEARCA:EWG) was the only other country in our matrix that fell more than 20% on the year. Brazil (NYSEARCA:EWZ) did the best with a decline of just 2.57% after rallying 14.98% in Q4.

The commodities ETF (NYSEARCA:DBC) was down 11.62% in 2018 due to oil's drop of 19.57%. In Q4 alone, the oil ETF (NYSEARCA:USO) fell 37.76%. Precious metals helped counter oil's Q4 declines by gaining 5%+. The gold ETF (NYSEARCA:GLD) was up 7.53% in Q4, which left it down 1.94% on the year.

Finally, Treasury ETFs rallied nicely in December and over the entire fourth quarter, but the "Total Bond Market" ETF (NASDAQ:BND) still finished the year slightly in the red at -0.11%. The "Aggregate Bond" ETF (NYSEARCA:AGG) finished just barely in positive territory at +0.10%. The popular 20+ Year Treasury ETF (NYSEARCA:TLT) rose 5.85% in December, but it was still down 1.61% for the full year on a total return basis.