2010 Investment Returns by Asset Class

Vanguard has the year-to-date returns up to 12/31/2010 for all of their mutual funds available right now, so I made a table with all of the funds and asset classes that I like to track for my records. These are almost all passively-managed funds, so they should track their respective indexes closely. 2010 ended up being a relatively good year for most investors, as nearly all the major stock and bond indexes ended up in positive territory. I’ve listed the mutual fund versions for simplicity, even though there is usually an ETF equivalent with similar returns.

Fund Ticker Asset Class 2010 Total Return
Stocks
VFINX S&P 500 14.91%
VTSMX US Total Market 17.09%
VISVX US Small Cap Value 24.82%
VGSIX US Real Estate (REIT) 28.30%
VFWIX International Total Market 11.69%
VGTSX International Total Market 11.12%
VFSVX International Small Cap 17.09%
VEIEX Emerging Markets 18.86%
Bonds
VFISX Short-Term Treasury 2.64%
VIPSX Inflation-Protected Bonds 6.17%
VBMFX Total Bond Market Index 6.42%

As a reminder that being this year’s best performing asset class is no guarantee of for future years, here’s the Callan Periodic Table of Investments that shows the relative performance of 8 major asset classes over the last 20 years. You can find the most recent one below (click to view PDF), which covers 1990 to 2009. (No update to include 2010 yet.) You can find previous versions here.

As you can see, the top performing asset classes is nearly impossible to predict, so holding multiple, low-correlation asset classes and rebalancing can be beneficial.

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