Investment Review

Fall 2023


The major market indices of US stocks, international developed equities, emerging markets, global real estate, and both US and global bonds had negative returns for the third quarter of 2023. Yet, for the past one, five and 10 years, all major market indexes had positive returns. For the one-year period ending September 30, 2023, both the US stock market and international developed stocks returned over 20%. For the same period, bonds, which we expect to dampen volatility but not return anywhere near stocks, returned 0.64 and 2.99% for US bands and global bonds, respectively.

The takeaway is that if you can stomach the volatility that comes with holding stocks, that’s the place to earn the highest returns over the long term.


Selected Headlines from the Past 12 Months Graphed with the World Stock Market Performance (MSCI All Country World Index)

The chart above highlights some of the year’s prominent headlines in the context of global stock market performance as measured by the MSCI All Country World Index-Investable Market Index (MSCI ACWI IMI). We are not offering these headlines to explain market returns. But they do serve as a reminder that investors should view daily events from a long-term perspective and avoid making financial decisions based solely on the news.


Investment Review


Benchmark Funds Q3 2023 12 Months Ending
US Large Cap
Vanguard 500 Index Fund



US Large Cap Value
iShares Russell 1000 Value Index



US Small Cap
iShares Russell 2000 Index



US Small Cap Value
iShares Russell 2000 Value Index



Vanguard Total International Stock Index



Emerging Markets
Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF



Vanguard Real Estate Index



Investment-Grade Bonds
iShares Core Total U.S. Bond Market ETF





Individual Asset Classes

The returns for the recent quarter that are listed below are sourced from


US Stocks

The US equity market posted negative returns for the quarter and outperformed non-US developed markets, but underperformed emerging markets. Value underperformed growth within large caps and outperformed within small caps. Small caps underperformed large caps. REIT indices underperformed equity market indices.

International Developed Market Stocks

Developed markets outside of the US posted negative returns for the quarter and underperformed both US and emerging markets. Value outperformed growth. Small caps outperformed large caps.

Emerging Markets Stocks

Emerging markets posted negative returns for the quarter and outperformed both US and non-US developed markets. Value outperformed growth. Small caps outperformed large caps.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

US real estate investment trusts underperformed non-US REITs during the quarter.

Fixed Income

Interest rates increased across all bond maturities in the US Treasury market for the quarter. On the short end of the yield curve, the 1-Month US Treasury Bill yield increased 31 basis points (bps) to 5.55%, while the 1-Year US Treasury Bill yield increased 6 bps to 5.46%. The yield on the 2-Year US Treasury Note increased 16 bps to 5.03%.

The yield on the 5-Year US Treasury Note increased 47 bps to 4.60%. The yield on the 10-Year US Treasury Note increased 78 bps to 4.59%. The yield on the 30-Year US Treasury Bond increased 88 bps to 4.73%.

In terms of total returns, short-term US treasury bonds returned +0.17% while intermediate-term US treasury bonds returned -0.81%. Short-term corporate bonds returned +0.25% and intermediate-term corporate bonds returned -0.96%. 1

The total returns for short- and intermediate-term municipal bonds were -0.94% and -2.96%, respectively. Within the municipal fixed income market, general obligation bonds returned -4.10% while revenue bonds returned -4.04%. 2


We continue to recommend an asset allocation for our clients based upon personal risk tolerance and long-term objectives. A mix with a larger allocation to stock is considered riskier but has a higher expected return over time.

Thank you for your continued confidence and trust.



  1. Bloomberg US Treasury and US Corporate Bond Indices.
  2. Bloomberg Municipal Bond Index.