Charts of the Week

Top Ten Countries in the MSCI EAFE Index (as of 3/31/19)

Chart of the Week for April 18, 2019 - April 25, 2019

Seven of the top 10 MSCI EAFE index countries posted negative returns in the one-year period ended March 31, 2019.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International ("MSCI") Europe, Australasia, and Far East Index ("EAFE") is a benchmark commonly used to measure non-U.S. developed country stock market performance, and the MSCI Emerging Markets ("EM") Index is a benchmark commonly used to measure non-U.S. emerging country stock market performance. Each index consists of about 20 countries and a country cannot be a member of both benchmarks. The bar chart above shows the net performance in U.S. dollars for the one-year periods ended March 31, 2019 ("current" period) and March 31, 2018 ("prior" period) for the MSCI EM Index, the MSCI EAFE Index, and the top 10 non-U.S. developed countries. The top 10 countries were determined by their market capitalization in the MSCI EAFE Index as of March 31, 2019. The country with the largest market capitalization (Japan) was listed first, and the country with the smallest market capitalization of the ten countries reported (Sweden) was listed last.

All countries and indexes shown had positive performance in the prior period, but those returns reversed in the current period with nine of the 12 having negative returns. From the perspective of a U.S. dollar-based investor, the highest return countries in the current period included Hong Kong (8.01%), Switzerland (7.48%), and Australia (4.46%). Global factors contributing to the current period returns included concerns about rising U.S. interest rates through December 2018, the stronger U.S. dollar, equity market volatility in the fourth quarter of 2018, U.S. trade discussions with China, and the Brexit situation in the United Kingdom.

No one can be certain in which direction individual countries or entire markets will move in the future, as past trends are no guarantee of future results. It is important to understand the principles of domestic and international markets and diversification before investing.

© Copyright 2019 ICMA Retirement Corporation, All Rights Reserved. This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell securities. Investors should seek financial advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in any securities or investment strategies discussed here. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.

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