Equity markets continued to rise in October, with several indices hitting all-time highs. The MSCI AC World Index has now risen for twelve consecutive months, taking 12 month returns to 23.2%. Volatility, typically measured by the VIX index, also reached alltime lows. The global economic backdrop remained supportive for equities with the synchronised global recovery continuing, as many economies, irrespective of geography, continue to expand.
The global economic backdrop was particularly beneficial to emerging market equities which continued to outperform developed markets, posting a 3.5% return in US Dollar terms, versus 1.9% for developed markets. Japanese stocks also outperformed, posting a 5.4% return in Yen terms, with investors reacting positively to the re-election of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe which should ensure continuation of stimulative policies. US equities rose 2.3% during the month, following better-than-expected GDP growth in Q3 of 3.0% annualised versus a 2.5% consensus, robust earnings data and unemployment falling to 4.2%. Given the backdrop of low inflation and the disruption from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, the US economy and equity markets remained resilient.