Global markets looked rejuvenated in the first half of 2019. Gains were seen practically across the board.
In the U.S., the S&P 500 shook off 2018’s 20% peak to trough decline to reach new highs. But it was foreign markets that topped the list.
Of course, for investors, you had to be in the market to earn those gains. And I doubt many expected market returns of this level in a mere six months. It just shows that timing is hard for a reason.
Here are a few observations before getting to the results:
- Emerging market countries led the way with the best and worst returns for 2019 so far.
- Only 4 Developed and 11 Emerging markets had a positive single-digit total return for the first half of 2019.
- Only 3 markets — Chile, Qatar, Pakistan — were the only countries negative through June.
- Turkey, Chile, Qatar, and Pakistan were the only markets to underperform 3-month T-Bills.
- Markets of 10 countries hit all-time highs in 2019 (on the total return index).
- 23 markets still sit below it’s January 2018 high (on the total return index). 11 sit below a peak prior to 2018.
- For U.S. indexes, the S&P 500 and REITs hit all-time highs in June, the Russell 2000 hit a high in May.
- 7 U.S. sectors hit highs this year. Energy, Financials, Healthcare, and Materials did not.
The table below ranks 2019 returns through June from high to low.