Viewpoint – February 2019

What a difference a month makes. Following the despair of December, markets made one of their best ever starts to a new year, with virtually all asset classes and markets rising, some very sharply. Many equity markets managed to recover the ground lost in December.

The US led the way with a return of 8%, pulling the MSCI World index up by 7.8%. In this risk-on environment, emerging markets outperformed developed markets, up 8.8%, with Latin America again relatively strong, up 15%. While all markets were buoyant, the UK was the notable underperformer, up 3.7%. UK equities were held back by a strong pound which rallied 2.5% on a trade-weighted basis as fears of a no deal Brexit faded. All sectors of the markets rose, with
technology stocks leading the way after their particularly sharp falls in Q4 last year. The tech-heavy NASDAQ index was up 10% and the NY FANGs 13%, the latter having risen by 22% from the December 24th lows compared with a 15% rise in the S&P 500.