FYI: Two thousand nineteen isn’t even a third over and it’s already shaping up as a great year for the financial markets. The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite both ended the week at record highs, a big reason that global equity markets have gained $10 trillion in value since the turn of the year, with global credit markets kicking in another $2 trillion to investors’ wealth, by the reckoning of Torsten Slok, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities.
At the risk of propounding American exceptionalism, U.S. markets have handily outdistanced the rest of the world. Using exchange-traded funds to illustrate, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (ticker: SPY) posted a total return (including dividends) of 16.73% for the year through Thursday, according to fund tracker Morningstar’s data. The Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ), which tracks the biggest stocks in the tech-heavy Nasdaq, returned 23.7%. Venturing abroad paid less well. The iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA), which tracks the major non-U.S. developed markets, returned 12.59%, while the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) returned 11.9%.