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Thursday
Jan312013

Asset Class Performance in January

Although we've slowed down a bit over the last week, stock markets around the world posted big gains in January.  Below is a look at the recent performance of various asset classes using key ETFs.

In the US, midcaps posted the biggest gains in January, followed by smallcaps and then largecaps.  Midcap value performed the best of any index ETFs that are based on size and style.  It's also notable that the S&P 500 Equalweight ETF (RSP) outperformed the S&P 500 cap-weighted ETF (SPY) by 139 basis points in January.

In terms of sectors, Energy (XLE) led the way in January with a gain of 8.3%, followed by Health Care (XLV) at 7.60% and Financials (XLF) at 6.04%.  Technology (XLK) was the worst performing sector in January, but the underperformance was mostly due to weakness in Apple (AAPL).

The S&P 500 ETF (SPY) outperformed all other country ETFs in our list except for Italy (EWI).  Italy was up 5.58% versus the S&P 500's gain of 5.12%.  Hong Kong (EWH) and Mexico (EWW) were the second and third best of the non-US country ETFs in January.  Brazil (EWZ) was the worst country in January with a gain of 1.48%.  It's also notable that the emerging markets ETF (EEM) actually closed down for the month. 

Oil (USO) was up the most of the commodity ETFs in January with a gain of 5.72%.  Silver (SLV) was up 3.64% during the month, while both gold (GLD) and natural gas (UNG) were down.

Finally, all but one of the fixed income ETFs listed posted declines in January, with the 20+ Year Treasury ETF (TLT) declining the most at 3.19%.

All in all, January was a boon for stocks and a bust for bonds.  Most equity investors would gladly take a repeat in February.