MSCI local currency price indices for developed markets in February demonstrated pretty impressive returns, and since the beginning of the year, many markets are now up by more than 10%. The US, for example, has delivered appreciation of 11.4%.
But many developed stock markets are down if measured over 12 months. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, UK, Japan and Singapore all fit into that category. Even the US has only managed to eke out a marginally positive return over a year (2.8%).
Benchmark 10-year government bond markets saw little change in yields over February. The US bond continues to trade around 2.7%, Canada around 1.9%, Germany 0.18% and UK 1.3% (a marginal increase), whilst Japan rewards 10-year investors with a negative yield of 0.02%. (Source: Bloomberg). None of these yields suggest robust economic growth ahead. None of them provide an adequate return. All of them indicate an investment world still suffering a hangover from extraordinary central bank intervention. Normality remains some distance away.