For years, Canadian stocks outperformed international stocks and Canadian investors were left wondering if diversifying into foreign markets was worth it. Investors who showed patience and kept faith in foreign stocks were handsomely rewarded in 2013. The year was a barn burner for US markets with the S&P 500 gaining 41.52 percent (all returns reported in this post are total returns, which includes dividends, distributions or interest payments). The icing on the cake was provided by the US dollar, which gained 6.9 percent against the loonie. Developed markets also had a strong year, returning 31.26 percent. Canadian markets, by comparison, posted modest returns weighed down by the resource sector.
With interest rates creeping up over the year, real return bonds had a bad year losing 13.1 percent. In reporting asset class returns for 2012, we wondered how long REITs can keep rocketing up. REITs broke the streak of positive returns in 2013 dropping 5.5 percent.
|Asset Class||2013 Returns|
|DEX Universe Bond Index||-1.19%|
|DEX Short Term Bond Index||1.74%|
|DEX Real Return Bond Index||-13.07%|
| || |
| || |
|S&P 500 (in CAD)||41.52%|
|MSCI EAFE (in CAD)||31.26%|
|MSCI Emerging Markets (in CAD)||4.13%|
If you are interested in asset class returns for previous years, Norbert Schlenker of Libra Investments maintains a spreadsheet of total returns for various asset classes going back to 1970.
Sources: Bank of Canada, PC Bond Analytics, MSCI Barra and S&P Dow Jones Indices.
PS: S&P 500 returns were reported incorrectly in the original post. Thanks to reader Antoni for pointing out the error.