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Key Asset Class Performance in February and YTD

The S&P 500 SPY ETF looked like it was going to finish off the month on a positive note until the final ten minutes of trading today pushed the market back into the red.  But even after today's late day decline, SPY ended up 1.28% for the month, adding on to January's gain to leave it up 6.46% for the year.  Of the three major indices (S&P 500, Dow, Nasdaq), the S&P 500 sits right in the middle in terms of 2013 returns, with the Dow on top (+7.43%) and the Nasdaq on bottom (+3.02%).

Midcaps have outperformed large and smallcaps at this point in the year, while value has performed about inline with growth.  Of the ten sectors, Consumer Staples saw the biggest gains in February, and it's also up the most of any sector for the year too.  Industrials and Utilities outperformed as well in February, while Telecom, Materials and Technology were the underperformers.

The picture outside of the US was not nearly as pretty in February.  In fact, all but two of the country ETFs (Australia and Japan) in our table below were down for the month.  Italy led the way lower with a February decline of 12.39%, which erased nice gains in January to leave it down 7.51% year to date.  India, China and Russia -- three of the four BRICs -- also posted 6%+ declines in February.

Commodities didn't fare much better than international equity indices either.  Gold was down 5.09% in February, while the USO oil ETF was down 6.29% and the silver ETF (SLV) fell nearly 10%.  The only commodities ETF that did well in February was natural gas.

Finally, fixed income bounced back after a rough January to post solid gains in February.

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