Investment Returns By Asset Class – November 2012 Update

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Here is my monthly update of the trailing total returns for the major asset classes that I find useful. I am using passive ETFs to track asset classes, as they represent actual investments that anyone can buy and sell. Return data was taken after market close at the end of November 2012.

Asset Class
Representative ETF
Benchmark Index
1-Mo 1-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Broad US Stock Market
Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI)
MSCI US Broad Market Index
0.75% 15.94% 1.92% 7.19%
Broad International Stock Market
Vanguard Total International Stock (VXUS)
MSCI All Country World ex USA Investable Market Index
1.84% 10.51% -4.26% 8.59%
Emerging Markets
Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF (VWO)
MSCI Emerging Markets Index
1.32% 8.53% -2.07% 15.16%
REIT (Real Estate)
Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ)
-0.37% 18.74% 4.20% 11.36%
Broad US Bond Market
Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND)
Barclays U.S. Aggregate Float Adj. Bond Index
0.16% 4.99% 6.35% 5.39%
US Treasury Bonds – Short-Term
iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF (SHY)
Barclays U.S. 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Index
0.07% 0.33% 2.25% 2.70%
US Treasury Bonds – Long-Term
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT)
Barclays U.S. 20+ Year Treasury Bond Index
1.34% 9.13% 9.96% 8.45%
TIPS / Inflation-Linked Bonds
iShares TIPS Bond ETF (TIP)
Barclays U.S. TIPS Index
0.47% 7.56% 6.99% n/a
SPDR Gold Shares (GLD)
Price of Gold Bullion
0.37% -1.54% 16.63% 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 11/30/12. All periods longer than one year are annualized. NAV returns are listed except in the case of GLD, as there is not a significant premium/discount to NAV for the other ETFs 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/VEIEX, VNQ/VGLSX, BND/VBLTX).

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  1. I was behind on the Vanguard wagon. I mainly bought American Funds. Now i’m regretting that I didn’t do my main funds in Vanguard and dabbled in American Funds instead of the other way around.

    That and never buying the Gold Ishares when gold started going up!!

    Good job

  2. I enjoy this feature of the blog. Keep it up!

  3. I was considering investing in VWO, but I learned recently that it is no longer going to track the MSCI emerging market index but instead will be tracking the FTSE emerging market index. The main difference between MSCI and FTSE is that FTSE excludes South Korea as a developing country. LG and Samsung have been major success stories, so the fact that VWO will no longer have these companies as holdings may affect performance.

    So are you going to stick to VWO or now favor the ishares emerging market ETF that is still tracking the MSCE index?
    Here’s Vanguard’s press release:

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