- The three major US stock indexes reached record highs in July, driven by positive earnings reports and continued accommodative monetary policy from the Federal Reserve.
- Stocks have generally outperformed other assets year-to-date, but some investments like bitcoin have seen unlikely surges in 2019.
- Here’s a roundup of how other popular assets have performed in the first half of 2019.
- Visit the Markets Insider homepage for more stories.
The three major US stock indexes are fresh off of record levels after positive earnings reports and Fed signals sent stocks higher through the end of July.
The Fed’s Wednesday announcement sent the indexes lower after not hinting at a prolonged series of additional cuts in the future. Here’s how the most popular US indexes have performed in the year-to-date (as of mid-day Thursday):
Dow Jones Industrial Average: up 16%
Nasdaq Composite: up 26%
S&P 500: up 20%
However, some other asset classes are performing nearly as well, while others offer benefits like greater stability or diversification.
Here’s how some other popular investment tools have performed in the first half of 2019:
Year-to-date performance: +9.9%
Gold has served as an investment safe haven or centuries. Its finite amount and historic allure draw interest from those worried the stock market is losing steam. Gold prices typically rise in times of market volatility, inflation, or geopolitical crisis.
The global trade war and fears of a slowing economy have contributed to a recovery for the precious metal’s price from prior lows, but it’s still outperformed by the three indexes.
Year-to-date performance: +29% (WTI crude oil)
Sometimes referred to as “liquid gold,” oil remains a popular commodity for traders around the world. Recent geopolitical events like the two captured British tankers off the coast of Iran helped drive the cost of oil higher.
Oil prices have outperformed all three major indexes in 2019, with the S&P 500 coming the closest to matching its gains.
Year-to-date performance: +167%
Though far from its 2018 high of nearly $US20,000 per coin,Bitcoin experienced a rapid recovery this year. The uptrend began in early April after the price jumped about 20% in a single day, and the surge has only continued.
Bitcoin has healthily outperformed the three major stock indexes so far, but the digital coin’s 24/7 trading cycle and high volatility may be too much to stomach for some investors.
If you sank your dollars into foreign currencies at the start of 2019, odds are your net worth hasn’t changed too much. Currencies offered relative stability compared to stocks and other assets, but geopolitical crises or weakening foreign economies can doom a currency-heavy portfolio.
Year-to-date performance: 2.69% annual percentage yield from a Betterment savings account
Though it may seem robo-advisors’ high-yield savings accounts don’t begin to stack up to the indexes’ returns, they have something no other asset on this list has: guaranteed and insured stability.
App-based services like Betterment and Wealthfront offer savings yields far higher than traditional banks’ 0.1% interest rate. Betterment recently bested Wealthfront’s previous record-high rate of 2.57%.
For investors looking to sink their money in something with minimal volatility and fee-free transfers, these digital banks fit the bill.