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The fourth quarter saw equity markets continue their strong run following the March 23 lows.
The third quarter saw equity markets continue their recovery from the March 23rd lows. International small company stocks (per the MSCI EAFE Small Cap Index) led the way, returning 10.25% for the quarter, followed by emerging markets (per the MSCI EM Index) with a 9.56% return.
The second quarter 2020 saw a significant rebound in equity markets following the jolting declines in the first quarter. Domestic small company stocks (per the Russell 2000 Index) led the way with a return of 25.42%, followed by the S&P 500 with a return of 20.54%.
To say that equity markets had a challenging start to 2020 would be an understatement. The record highs reached in mid-February by the S&P 500 seem like a distant memory after the 30% drop in March – the quickest decline from a new high ever recorded.
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."