Commodities and US Shares Posted the Highest Gains for Last Week

Broadly defined commodities and US shares posted the highest gains for the major asset classes during the trading week through Friday, June 19, based on a set of exchange-traded funds.


By James Picerno

The top performer, by far: iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust (GSG), which rose 3.2% last week. The gain marked the ETF’s seventh weekly advance during the past eight weeks.

Focusing on the tailwind of late for commodities, The Wall Street Journal today reports: “Prices for raw materials including oil and copper are surging as the world economy reopens for business, a signal to many investors that global growth is returning more quickly than anticipated.”

US equities were last week’s second-best performer for the major asset classes. Vanguard Total US Stock Market (NYSEARCA:VTI) rose 2.0%, closing near the highest level since the coronavirus crash in March.

Last week’s biggest loser: inflation-linked government bonds ex-US. SPDR FTSE International Government Inflation-Protected Bond (NYSEARCA:WIP) slipped 0.7%, the fund’s second straight weekly decline.

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The major asset classes overall rose 1.1%, based on the Global Markets Index that uses exchange-traded funds (GMI.F). This unmanaged benchmark, which holds all the major asset classes (except cash) in market-value weights via ETFs, has posted gains in four of the past five weeks.

For the one-year trend, commodities continue to suffer the biggest decline. Despite recent gains, GSG remains deep in the red for the trailing 12-month window: a loss of more than 30%.

The biggest one-year winner for the major asset classes: a broad measure of investment-grade US bonds. Vanguard Total US Bond Market (NYSEARCA:BND) is up 9.0% after factoring in distributions.

GMI.F’s one-year return through Friday’s close: 3.1%.

Ranking asset classes via current drawdown continues to show a wide range of results, ranging from a 70% peak-to-trough decline for commodities (GSG) to the zero drawdowns for US investment-grade bonds (BND) and inflation-indexed Treasuries (TIPS).

GMI.F’s current drawdown: -5.9%.