Equities and Real Estate Investment Trusts Led Most Markets Higher

Equities and real estate investment trusts (REITs) led most markets higher last week.


By James Picerno


Rebounding after a weak start to this month’s trading, nearly all the major asset classes posted gains in the first full week of March, based on a set of exchange-traded products.

US stocks took the lead over the five trading days through Mar. 9. Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) was up a strong 3.7% last week, lifting the ETF to its highest close since Feb. 1. A big chunk of last week’s rise unfolded in the wake of Friday morning’s surprisingly strong numbers for US payrolls in February.

US REITs had a good run, too, posting the second-best performance for the major asset classes last week. Vanguard Real Estate (VNQ) gained 3.0%, offering a sign that securitized real estate may be stabilizing after falling for most of this year so far.

Broadly defined commodities fell to the bottom of last week’s performance list. The iPath Bloomberg Commodity (DJP) dipped 0.4%.

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For the one-year trend, stocks in emerging markets still hold the top spot. Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (NYSEARCA:VWO) is up 29.5% on a total return basis for the year through Mar. 9. That’s a healthy premium over the second-best performance for the major asset classes in the one-year column: foreign real estate/REITs via Vanguard Global ex-US Real Estate (VNQI), which is up 22.0%.

Meanwhile, there’s only one case of red ink for the one-year change: US REITs. Despite last week’s rally, Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) has lost 2.2% over the past year.