Viewpoint – April 2017

Despite a mid-month wobble in the US equity market, it was another benign month overall for equity markets and most risk assets made further upward progress, continuing the pattern of performance since Trump’s election success. Volatility remained remarkably low, and equities again outperformed bonds. The most notable moves included a change in leadership within equity markets, with Europe meaningfully outperforming the US, credit marginally outperforming sovereign bonds (which posted flat or negative returns), and a renewed slide in the US dollar against most currencies, leaving its trade weighted index down by 1.8% year-to-date. Despite further evidence of strengthening global growth, commodity markets were generally weak, notably the price of WTI oil declined by 6.3% over the month. A combination of accelerating growth and a weaker dollar helped emerging markets to another strong month, leaving them as the best performing equity market year-to-date (posting a total return of 11.4%).