LONDON Dec 20 U.S. stocks are on track to
become the top investment in 2013, with the S&P 500 index on
course to mark its best year since 1997.
The S&P index has risen 29.5 percent on a total
return basis since January as investors bet the U.S. economic
recovery would accelerate, enabling the Federal Reserve to
withdraw its monetary stimulus without disrupting growth.
Japanese stocks are a close second with the Nikkei index
rising 28.6 percent on a total return basis in 2013, the
following graphic on global asset performance shows:
Gold was the biggest loser with a year-to-date loss of 29
percent. Generally seen as a safe-haven, gold has been
hit by the improvement in risk appetite and expectations for a
strong dollar, which would make gold more expensive as it is
priced in dollars.
Emerging markets fared poorly on concerns that the Fed's
move to scale back its stimulus programme will choke off capital
inflows into their economies, which benefited the most from
Local currency emerging debt is the third-worst performer of
2013, with losses of almost 9 percent while hard currency bonds
have lost 6.5 percent.
MSCI's main emerging equity index is also set to
the end the year in the red, having lost 3.5 percent on a total
return basis so far in 2013.
Commodities, which are non-yielding assets, have also
suffered from the softer demand from emerging markets and a
slowing Chinese economy. The Reuters/Jefferies CRB commodity
index is down 4.6 percent year-to-date.
The following graphics show the performance of a variety of
Equity performance by region:
Equity performance by sectors: