Silver was the best performing asset in June, and the only one with double digit returns, followed by gold and the Micex (Moscow exchange). Some of this is just a correction from previous underperformance, but gold has outperformed all year, as you might expect considering how unattractively priced most traditional asset classes are right now (h/t Zero Hedge).
As precious metal become the best performing asset people are willing to invest in Russia again
The Micex is actually still negative for the year, so last month’s outperformance is a sign that some people are returning to the Russian stock market. While the tension in Ukraine is far from over, fears of a worst case scenario that spills out into the global economy have subsided. Similarly (but without the threat of war) the Nikkei was the fifth best performer in June but is still solidly negative for the year, so the recent positive results are a sign of investors looking for cheap stocks.
Even though Brent crude outperformed US WTI in June and in 2Q, WTI is still the better performing asset YTD. US high yield bonds have outperformed EU high yield bonds for all three time frames, though the difference YTD is miniscule. Wheat was the worst performing asset for June, for 2Q, and YTD, and corn is barely positive after a quarter of losses.
Health care dominates the Russell 3000 in 1H14
The top performing stocks on the Russell 3000 (INDEXRUSSELL:RUA) for the first half are dominated by the healthcare sector, which took the top four spots. Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IDIX) gained more than 300%, virtually all of it in the second quarter, and twenty-two stocks had first half returns in the triple digits. Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ICPT) would have been the fastest growing stock, gaining 383% in the first quarter before losing 28% in the second quarter, underlying just how speculative these high flying stocks are (and why buying into the flavor of the month stock can be so costly). Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) also had a great first quarter gaining 358% before serious doubts about its business model started to spread and it fell 34% in 2Q, with Whitney Tilson claiming that the stock is worth no more than a dollar.
Amid all of the health care, energy, and tech firms the consumer discretionary stock Sequential Brands Group managed to have two solid quarters, as did the materials firm Platform Specialty products. (h/t Climateer Investing).