Unlike the previous year, 2009 was a great year for investable assets. Emerging markets and Canadian REITs were big winners — both returned about 55%. Even the asset class with the lowest returns — Short Bonds — returned 4.5%. All in all, it was the best of times for investors. The Canadian dollar appreciated against major currencies, including the US dollar, and dragged down returns from US and other foreign markets.

All Canadian Bonds: 5.4%
Short Canadian Bonds: 4.5%
Real Return Bonds: 14.5%
Canadian Stocks (S&P/TSX Composite): 35.1%
US Stocks (S&P 500): 9.2% (26.5% in USD)
Developed Markets (MSCI EAFE Index): 14.4% (25.4% in local currency)
Emerging Markets: 54.6% (62.8% in local currency)
REITs: 55.3%

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. Total returns for Canadian REITs were obtained from the monthly market statistics published by PWL Capital.

Sources: Bank of Canada, PC Bond Analytics, MSCI Barra and Standard & Poors.

This article has 13 comments

  1. Thanks… Certainly not surprised by the REITs and Emerging Markets. Once the fear was relieved, people flooded these areas with cash from the sidelines.

  2. Would you happen to know if trading volume was more, less or the same as previous years?

    • Canadian Capitalist

      @Thicken: I don’t have that information with me. Someone with access to Bloomberg may able to answer this question.

  3. I think there was a flight to perceived safety with the REIT sector. There are so many REITs whose payout ratio are now at or above 100% as their rental revenues have gone down with their occupancy rates in this recession. I think it might be a bit of an asset bubble right now.

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  11. Nice call on the REIT bubble Phil S.

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