Investment Returns By Asset Class – February 2013 Update

Here is my monthly update of the trailing total returns for the major asset classes that I find useful. Passive ETFs are used to represent major asset classes, as they represent actual investments that folks can buy and sell. Return data was taken after market close at the end of January 2013.

Asset Class
Representative ETF
Benchmark Index
1-Mo1-Year5-Year10-Year
Broad US Stock Market
Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI)
MSCI US Broad Market Index
5.49%16.85%4.69%8.79%
Broad International Stock Market
Vanguard Total International Stock (VXUS)
MSCI All Country World ex USA Investable Market Index
3.35%13.83%-0.63%10.20%
Emerging Markets
Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF (VWO)
FTSE Emerging Index
0.61%7.61%1.61%16.36%
REIT (Real Estate)
Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ)
MSCI US REIT Index
3.72%14.64%6.92%12.40%
Broad US Bond Market
Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND)
Barclays U.S. Aggregate Float Adj. Bond Index
-0.64%2.47%5.39%5.09%
US Treasury Bonds – Short-Term
iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF (SHY)
Barclays U.S. 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Index
0.00%0.19%1.85%2.61%
US Treasury Bonds – Long-Term
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT)
Barclays U.S. 20+ Year Treasury Bond Index
-3.86%-0.47%8.30%7.36%
TIPS / Inflation-Linked Bonds
iShares TIPS Bond ETF (TIP)
Barclays U.S. TIPS Index
-0.68%3.72%5.91%n/a
Gold
SPDR Gold Shares (GLD)
Price of Gold Bullion
-0.01%-4.93%12.04%n/a

Here is a chart of the 1-year trailing returns for the major asset classes above, which I use to help decide where to invest new funds and for rebalancing. Note that I do not necessarily invest in all the listed asset classes, see my personal portfolio for details.

* Listed are total returns (includes dividends and interest) as calculated by Morningstar as of 1/31/13. All periods longer than one year are annualized. NAV returns are listed, as there is not a significant premium/discount to NAV (except for GLD) and the NAV returns match the equivalent Vanguard mutual fund returns. In certain cases, I am using the long-term returns of the equivalent Vanguard mutual funds as Vanguard ETFs are simply a different share class of the mutual funds, share the same underlying investments (VXUS/VTIAX, VWO/VEMAX, VNQ/VGLSX, BND/VBLTX).

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