Peter Lynch once said, “I’ve found that when the market’s going down and you buy funds wisely, at some point in the future you will be happy.” That quote sums up the transition in markets from 2018 to 2019. It turns out, the happiness Lynch refers to sometimes only takes a year.
2019 ended the 2010s on a high note for most broad asset classes. There’s a lot of green on a per-country basis too. In other words, 2018’s woes were met by a double-digit recovery in all but a handful of stock markets in 2019.
There’s a lesson in there as well. Bear markets don’t have a fixed duration or depth. There’s no telling when one might end. You can try to time it. And for that, I wish you luck (you’ll need it). But most people are better off staying in the game. Surviving a bear market is rewarding…literally!
A quick note before diving into the 2019 numbers. The asset class, sector, international markets, emerging market return quilts, and the historical returns data are up-to-date. Hit the links for each one.
Below, you’ll find two tables. The first compares the 2019 global market returns, ranked best to worst, with its 2018 return as a comparison. The second is global total returns for the 2010s decade. Here are some brief highlights:
- Developed markets moved in lockstep over the last two years. Every developed market had losses in 2018. Every developed market had gains in 2019.
- In fact, only 5 countries — all emerging markets — ended 2019 with a loss.
- Of those 5 countries with losses, 4 experienced losses two years in a row. None saw losses 3 years in a row.
And about the 2010s:
- Countries that averaged double-digit returns in the 2010s: Denmark at 11.9%, New Zealand at 12.1%, Saudi Arabia at 10.7%, Thailand at 10.9%, UAE at 10.6%, and the U.S. at 13.6% (anyone still waiting for that double-dip).
- The U.S. led all markets in the 2010s with a 256.7% total return. As far as decades go, the 1950s, 1980s, and 1990s were better.
- Countries that averaged a losing return in the 2010s: Argentina at -0.4%, Brazil at -0.6%, Chile at -1.9%, Turkey at -4.2%, Israel at -1.0%, Portugal at -2.5%, Spain at -0.5%, and Greece at -22.3%.
- From 2010 to 2019, Greece saw a -92.0% total return. 6 out of 10 years saw losses exceeding 10%. 5 of those years, losses exceeded 36%.
- The best U.S. sector in the 2010s was Technology averaging 17.5%. Coming in at #2 was Consumer Discretionary averaging 17.2%.
- Only 3 U.S. sectors averaged single-digit returns in the 2010s: Communication Services averaged 9.7%, Materials averaged 9.1%, and Energy averaged 3.3%.
- Cash (3-month T-Bills) averaged a measly 0.6% in the 2010s. A savings account at the typical brick and mortar bank was worse. That’s a total return after 10 years of 5.7%!
- Research Compendium 2019 – Factor Research
- Savvy Investor Awards 2019: The Best White Papers – Savvy Investor
- Richard Thaler: Stop Sabotaging Your Stock Portfolio – Barron’s
- Peter Lynch: How to Find Growth Opportunities in Today’s Market – Barron’s
- What Happened in the 2010s – AVC
- Not Stupid Wins – Above the Market
- It’s 2020 and You’re in the Future – WaitButWhy