2019 was a stellar year for returns across most asset classes. This comes off an odd 2018 year in which all asset classes produced negative real returns. All asset class returns were positive nominal returns, and all but cash produced real returns.
|Asset class||2019 return|
|US stock market||31%|
|Intl developed ex-US market||22%|
|Long term treasuries||14%|
|Global bonds (USD hedged)||7%|
|Intermediate term treasuries||6%|
|Short term treasuries||4%|
US equities led asset class returns with an annual return of 31%. International equities also performed well with equities in developed countries returning 22% and emerging markets at 20%. This is all despite various market concerns including the US-China tariffs/ trade war, Brexit, and slowdowns in eurozone economies. However, it should also be noted that equities declined in December of 2018 (turning negative for 2018), and started 2019 at a lower point.
Real assets, aside from cash, performed very well. REITs returned 29% and commodities 16%.
Bonds also had a solid year. Long-term US treasuries returned 14%, intermediates 6%, and global bonds almost 7%. Corporate bonds returned 17% and global bonds returned 7%.
Inflation increased but remained low at 2.29%. Most asset classes returned in excess of inflation for real returns, except for cash which returned 2.13%. Note that cash returned a negative real return–if you don’t already have one, at least get a high yield savings account.
2019 stock market returns were exceptional
The US stock market returns in 2019 were some of the highest returns since 1972. Only 8 other years had higher returns than the US stock market in 2019 (returning 31%).