Asset Class Overview – April 2016

Asset Class Overview

Uneventful would be an absolutely horrendous adjective to use to describe what transpired in financial markets during the first quarter of 2016, but you’d never know it looking at year-to-date performance. Financial asset prices mounted an impressive March rally to close out the first quarter aided by easy global monetary policy, rising oil prices, and diminished contagion fears stemming from China. The MSCI World Index, a measure of developed world equity markets, returned a sturdy 6.86% for the month, erasing almost all of the year-to-date losses. Meanwhile, the U.S. equity markets managed to turn positive for the year after returning 6.78% during March (1.35% year-to-date). Fixed income markets enjoyed another month of positive performance, with the high yield bond market leading the way. The high yield market returned a handsome 4.39% last month, according to the Merrill Lynch U.S. Cash Pay High Yield Index, as year-to-date returns increased to 3.23%. The Barclays Aggregate Index, a measure of the broad investment grade bond universe, returned a more modest 0.92% in March (3.03% year-to-date).

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