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The week in review

The week of 1 February saw all equity markets deliver positive returns, while the MSCI AC World Index rose by +4.1% in Sterling terms and +4.3% in US Dollar terms. Read our update to find out more.
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Published 9 February
2 mins

What’s happened in markets?

KEY MARKET MOVEMENTS (% change)
 1WK1MO3MOYTD1YR3YR5YR
FTSE All Share1.9-1.012.11.0-8.01.06.8
Euro Stoxx 505.13.214.13.2-0.55.08.5
S&P5004.74.411.23.618.715.817.9
Japan Topix4.55.614.84.813.83.69.1
MSCI Asia Pac.5.06.319.99.240.010.218.0
MSCI Emerg. Mkts.5.05.720.18.131.37.816.6
Jo’burg All Shares2.95.616.78.315.27.48.5
UK Gov’t Bonds-2.2-3.4-2.9-3.81.54.73.9
US Gov’t Bonds-0.6-1.3-2.0-1.64.65.22.9
Global Corp. Bonds-0.3-0.80.4-1.15.36.45.9
Emerg. Mkt. Local0.1-1.34.3-1.23.22.66.2

Figures as of end of trading on 05/2/2021

As cases begin to drop in the US and in Europe – although death rates remain relatively high due to the lag from infection and hospitalisation cases – AstraZenica/Oxford University’s results to prove the efficacy of their vaccines against the South African variant proved disappointing. And while work has begun on re-engineering their vaccine to defeat the new variant, Oxford University has begun a trial to test the results with patients given a combination of the Pfizer/BioNTech and its vaccine with AstraZenica.

Meanwhile, there was favourable news that the decision by the UK government to delay the second jab of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was vindicated as protection does not wane during the current three-month gap between doses, and those receiving a second jab after this delay are even more protected than those who only wait three weeks.

Also in the UK, the Bank of England struck a more hawkish tone at its monetary policy meeting with a view that higher interest rates may be needed sooner than anticipated to keep inflation in check. While the central bank forecast that the UK economy will contract by around -4% in Q1 2021, they project the economy could bounce back strongly after that, and inflation could step over the 2% target by Q1 2022. Meanwhile, although negative interest rates were ruled out for anytime soon, the committee was keen to never say never.

In the US, the US Senate started voting on a budget resolution for 2021, after the House of Representatives passed its version on Wednesday evening. If this budget process is successful, it would allow President Biden’s virus relief package to pass with a simple party line vote, which would help the economy given the US payrolls number, published on Friday 5 February, came in at 49,000, and well below the 105,000 expected by the market. And although the unemployment rate fell to 6.3% (from 6.7%), this was mainly because a number of people decided to leave the workforce or stop looking for work. This is news that could push Congress to vote a billl through quickly.

Equity markets ended the week of 1 February in positive territory. This was partly because the Reddit-fuelled retail trades took more of a back seat, while investors’ positive sentiments were supported by continued progress on the vaccine rollouts, company earnings results, and hopes for further US fiscal stimulus. The strongest regions were Asia ex Japan (+4.79%) and the US (+4.67%) and the weakest was the UK (+0.82%). The week saw growth stocks (+4.63%) outperform value (+3.60%), while small capitalisation stocks (+5.22%) were stronger than their largest peers (+4.06%). Among the sectors, communication services (+6.79%), consumer discretionary (+5.98%) and financial services (+5.32%) provided the best returns, while healthcare was the worst (+0.92%), although all sectors ended the week in the black.

ECONOMICS  
 Latest

Consensus

Forecast

UK GDP (QoQ)16.00.3
UK PMI41.2
UK CPI (YoY)0.6
EU GDP (QoQ)-0.7
EU PMI47.8
EU CPI (YoY)0.9
US GDP (QoQ)44.3
US PMI58.0
US CPI (YoY)1.41.5

What’s happened in portfolios?

In many ways, the week of 1 February was a microcosm for 2021 to date, as the reflation trade regained momentum. Overall, our aggregate equity portfolio is ahead of the MSCI AC World Index so far this year, with the biggest factor being our Emerging Market overweight.

Developments in fixed income also aligned with the risk-on theme, with a concerted steepening of yield curves leading to losses in safe haven government bonds, especially longer dated maturities. That meant a lot of bond portfolios will have lost money during the week of 1 February (as they have year-to-date), but our short duration bias protected portfolios against the worst of this.

And while the property investments saw mixed to slightly negative performance for no specific reasons, the other alternative investment trusts were pretty solid amid a week of relatively quiet news flow. The renewables share prices, meanwhile, continue to benefit from investors realising that higher electricity prices (due to a combination of colder weather and higher oil and gas prices) will help near-term revenues and cashflows.

What's happening this week?

10 Feb • US Consumer Price Index | 11 Feb • US Jobless Claims | 12 Feb • UK Industrial Production

Clients of Nedbank Private Wealth can get in touch with their private banker directly to understand how their portfolios are responding to market events, or call +44 (0)1624 645000 to speak to our client services team.

 

If you would like to find out more about how we manage clients’ investments, please contact us on the same number as above. Or you can get in touch using the links to the forms towards the end of this page.

Sources: Nedbank Private Wealth and (1) Reuters; (2) US Department of Labor; and (3) Bloomberg.

The value of investments can fall, as well as rise, and you might not get back the original amount invested. Exchange rate changes affect the value of investments. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future returns. Any individual investment or security mentioned may be included in clients’ portfolios and is referenced for illustrative purposes only, not as a recommendation, not least as it may not be suitable. You should always seek professional advice before making any investment decisions.

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