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World Asset Classes
Looking at broad market indices, emerging markets outperformed developed markets, including the US, in the first quarter. The value effect was positive in emerging markets but negative in developed markets, including the US. Small caps outperformed large caps in developed markets, including the US, but underperformed in emerging markets.
Select Country Performance
In US dollar terms, Finland and Italy recorded the highest country performance in developed markets, while Canada and Australia posted the lowest returns for the quarter. In emerging markets, Egypt and Brazil posted the highest country returns, while the Philippines and Poland had the lowest performance.
The Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return declined 0.40% during the first quarter.
The grains complex led performance, with soybean meal returning 20.24% and corn gaining 8.30%. Energy also advanced, with WTI crude oil returning 8.40% and Brent oil advancing 4.99%. Softs was the worst-performing complex, with sugar and coffee declining by 18.19% and 7.96%, respectively.
Interest rates increased in the US during the first quarter. The yield on the 5-year Treasury note rose 36 basis points (bps), ending at 2.56%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note increased 34 bps to 2.74%. The 30-year Treasury bond yield rose 23 bps to finish at 2.97%.
On the short end of the yield curve, the 1-month Treasury bill yield increased 35 bps to 1.63%, while the 1-year Treasury bill yield rose 33 bps to 2.09%. The 2-year Treasury note finished at 2.27% after a yield increase of 38 bps.
In terms of total return, short-term corporate bonds dipped 0.38% and intermediate corporates fell 1.50%. Short-term municipal bonds advanced 0.10%, while intermediate munis declined 1.29%. Revenue bonds performed in-line with general obligation bonds, declining 1.19% and 1.20%, respectively.
Impact of Diversification
These portfolios illustrate the performance of different global stock/bond mixes. Mixes with larger allocations to stocks are considered riskier but have higher expected returns over time.
1. STDEV (standard deviation) is a measure of the variation or dispersion of a set of data points. Standard deviations are often used to quantify the historical return volatility of a security or portfolio.