The S&P 500 (SPY) is down nearly 4% since the last FOMC meeting on March 16th when the Fed lifted off of the “zero bound” by hiking rates 25 basis points. As we approach the second rate hike of this cycle tomorrow, below is a snapshot of recent asset class performance using our key ETF matrix. For each ETF, we show its total return since the close on the date of the last FOMC meeting (3/16) as well as its total return since February 19th, 2020, which was the stock market’s closing high prior to the start of the COVID pandemic.
Starting with performance since the Fed hiked rates for the first time back in March, we’ve seen across-the-board declines in US equities with the exception of a few sectors. Small-caps and the Nasdaq have been hit hardest since the March rate hike, while the Dividend ETF (DVY) has managed to post a small gain. Communication Services and Financials have been the hardest hit sectors with declines of 8%+, while Energy and Consumer Staples are both up more than 5%. Outside of the US, not one country ETF is up since the Fed hiked rates, and Germany and China are both down ~10%. The China ETF (ASHR) is down more than any ETF in our matrix since the first rate hike, but the 20+ Year Treasury ETF is right on its heels with a decline of 10.1%. Even gold and silver are now down since 3/16, while energy and agricultural commodities are in the green.
As asset prices have fallen in 2022, we’ve seen quite a few areas of financial markets really start to give up post-COVID gains. The S&P 500 has still posted a total return of nearly 28% since pre-COVID, but the small-cap Russell 2,000 is up less than 15% at this point. Looking at US sectors, Energy is up the most since 2/19/20 with a gain of 61%. Materials and Technology are still up 40%+, while Industrials and Financials are up just 18%. Two sectors — Utilities and Communication Services — have posted total returns of less than 10% since the pre-COVID high.
Outside of the US, India and Canada are both solidly green since the pandemic began, but countries like Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, and Spain are all in the red. Commodity ETFs have been some of the best since the pandemic, although USO (oil) specifically is actually down 14% since the close on 2/19/20.
Treasury ETFs are down on a total return basis since pre-COVID, with TLT down the most at 15%. The only bond ETF that has offered some protection post-COVID is the inflation-protected TIP, which is up 8.42%. Click here to learn more about Bespoke’s premium financial markets research.