As a whole, 2019 was a strong year for risk assets. Domestic equities led the way, with the S&P returning 31.49% for the year.
Year to date, global equity market returns remain strong, but returns were mixed for the third quarter.
Global equity markets were positive for the second quarter. Domestic equities (as measured by the S&P 500) returned 4.30%, International equities (as measured by the MSCI EAFE Index) returned 3.68%, and Emerging Markets (as measured by the MSCI Emerging Markets Index) returned 0.61%.
Global equity markets were positive across the board for the first quarter, with Real Estate Investment Trusts (as measured by the Wilshire REIT Index) being the best performing asset class.
Global equity markets were negative across the board for the fourth quarter, with US Small Cap (as measured by the Russell 2000) being the worst performing equity asset class, at -20.20%.
US Markets were positive for the quarter with US Large Cap, as measured by the S&P 500, being the top performer with a return of 7.71%. We are now more than nine years into this current "bull market."
US markets had a positive second quarter, with the S&P 500 returning 3.43% and the Russell 2000 returning 7.75%. International developed markets declined 1.24% and Emerging Markets declined 7.96%.
Markets started strong in January, with the S&P 500 reaching an all-time high. Although economic indicators remained positive during the quarter, uncertainty regarding interest rates and trade policies loomed large.
With the help of a strong fourth quarter, 2017 gave investors a less volatile and record-shattering ride across nearly every major global asset class.
The U.S. economy saw slightly weaker growth during the third quarter with a 2.7% GDP estimate, down from 3.10% during the second quarter.