Here is my May 2013 update of the trailing total returns for selected major asset classes. 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 April 2013.
I’m trying out a new chart format, in the hopes of easier visual comparisons. Below is a chart of the all the trailing returns for 1-month, 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year periods.
If you focus on the blue and red bars, you can see that in the short-term the stock markets around the world have been on quite a tear. Meanwhile, gold has been dropping. If you’re holding gold as a diversification tool, this may not be a bad thing to see. If you focus on the 10-year trailing returns of the green bars, just about everything looks rosy at the moment. Unless you were making some manic moves like bailing out during the crisis, your portfolio should have done pretty well over the last decade.
In terms of bonds, they have been a relatively safe place to be over the last several years, but you can also can see the effect of dropping rates on their recent returns. Future bond returns are very likely to be lower than in the past.
Here is the usual table of actual numerical values for those same asset classes: