The week in review

The week of 17 January saw UK unemployment fall to a post-pandemic low and inflation hit a 30-year high. Meanwhile, UK COVID-19 cases continued to drop.
Published 25 January
3 mins

What’s happened in markets?

FTSE All Share-0.911.863.300.2714.556.955.29
Euro Stoxx 50-1.001.402.05-1.5119.8113.888.43
S&P 500-5.67-5.32-3.01-7.6615.7420.0716.21
Japan Topix-2.55-2.04-3.55-3.275.789.687.06
MSCI Asia Pac.-1.013.28-3.820.82-12.8710.9910.82
MSCI Emerg. Mkts.-1.043.43-3.471.03-9.539.649.64
Jo’burg All Shares-0.425.3013.571.5621.5215.3410.98
UK Gov’t Bonds-0.46-2.811.36-2.09-5.342.462.34
US Gov’t Bonds0.23-1.62-0.54-1.54-2.763.672.73
Global Corp. Bonds-0.10-1.77-1.01-1.83-1.885.664.42
Emerg. Mkt. Local0.120.81-0.860.26-

Figures in the respective local currencies as at the end of trading on 21/1/2022.

The week of 17 January was a record-breaking week in the UK, with unemployment dropping to a post-pandemic low of 4.1%. Meanwhile, concerns about the cost of living deepened as inflation, measured by the consumer price index, hit a 30-year high of 5.4% year on year for December. This has increased pressure on the Bank of England (BoE) and markets are now pricing in a 25 basis points rise when the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee meets on Thursday 3 February.

There was good news on the pandemic front. A continuing drop in UK COVID-19 cases led to a relaxation of restrictions. Since the UK was among the earliest countries hit by the Omicron variant, this bodes well for other territories now grappling with surges of positive cases.

In Europe, the European Central Bank (ECB) president, Christine Lagarde, signalled that the ECB had every reason to take less rapid and forceful steps on interest rates than the US Federal Reserve, given the euro area’s lower inflation and less advanced economic recovery.

Meanwhile, tensions between Russia and Ukraine showed no signs of abating, despite talks. President Vladimir Putin denied he is planning to attack Ukraine, but the US and EU have threatened severe sanctions in the event of an invasion.

Elsewhere, the Bank of Japan acknowledged inflation expectations are picking up, given rising energy costs, but opted to maintain its current negative interest rates and monetary stimulus.

On the corporate front, 39 S&P 500 companies reported earnings. There were some mixed results for financials, which saw lower trading revenues and higher expenses. However, Bank of America reported a quarterly growth in net income of 28% and forecast further robust growth this year, with consumers and companies starting to take on debt again.

Netflix hit the headlines with slowing subscriber growth. Shares immediately slumped by more than 20%. While the business achieved better-than-expected earnings for Q4 2021, growing competition saw it forecast an extra 2.5 million subscribers over the next quarter, well below the 6.3 million analysts had predicted.

As markets moved to price in more tightening, developed market equities (-4.92%) and defensive growth stocks (-8.66%) have sold off, while higher-duration tech stocks (-9.97%) took a hit due to higher discount rates.

Evidence of the Omicron variant’s lower-than-expected severity helped to keep energy stocks (+11.14%) firmly in positive territory. Oil prices (+17.72%) were also boosted by supply concerns, after the drone attack on a UAE oil facility, and a brief flow outage caused by a fire on a pipeline from Iraq to Turkey.

Fixed income assets have come under pressure as yields pushed higher in the first few weeks of 2022. Longer-dated government bonds and investment grades are among the poorest-performing areas, with inflation a clear threat.




UK GDP (QoQ)1.1
UK PMI53.454.0
UK CPI (YoY)5.4
EU GDP (QoQ)2.3
EU PMI52.452.6
EU CPI (YoY)5.0
US GDP (QoQ)2.35.3
US PMI62.361.0
US CPI (YoY)7.0

What’s happened in portfolios?

Given their exposure to growth stocks, global equity funds such as Fundsmith and Morgan Stanley have struggled recently. However, we remain confident in their longer-term performance. As mentioned earlier, it is also a less favourable environment for fixed income, but our short duration bias has allowed us to perform relatively well.

Our focus on real assets and alternative strategies provides important diversification. They offer some protection from inflation, alongside attractive yields.

In real estate, BMO Commercial Property Trust has been shaking up its portfolio. Its purchase of two logistics assets for £66 million, plus a £10.5 million commitment to two developments within its existing portfolio, demonstrate its willingness to react to opportunities and benefit from long-term structural growth tailwinds.

Among alternative investments, the share price of Princess Private Equity has faltered recently after a very strong run. However, its recent sale of specialist care provider Voyage Care at a 24% increase to book value was positive news. Our confidence in its long-term growth prospects remains high.

What's happening this week?

25 Jan • UK Public Sector Net Borrowing (December) | 27 Jan • US Initial Jobless Claims | 28 Jan • EU Consumer Confidence (January)

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) Bloomberg , (2) Reuters, (3) UK Office of National Statistics and (4) Financial Times.

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.

Access more of our insights


The week in review

21 Mar

   |   4 mins

The week of 13 March 2023 was another volatile week for markets as further upheaval in the banking sector raised fears of a steeper economic slowdown and hopes of an easing of central bank rate hikes.


The week in review

14 Mar

   |   4 mins

The week of 6 March 2023 saw markets down sharply, as hawkish talk from the Federal Reserve and strong US jobs data early in the week were eclipsed by events in the financial sector.


February's investment market commentary

10 Mar

   |   2½ mins

February saw a reversal of some of the strong gains made in the prior month, with both global equity and bond markets falling during the period. Simon Watts explains.


The week in review

28 Feb

   |   3 mins

The week of 20 February 2023 saw stronger than expected inflation and economic growth reports and a more hawkish stance from central banks, leading to widespread declines in markets.

Get in touch

If you are interested in becoming a client, please complete the form via the ‘become a client’ button below. Alternatively, if you are already a client, or if you have a question about how we help clients in particular circumstances, please use the ‘contact us’ button.


We will get back to you as soon as we can during office hours, which are Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm (UK time), except for UK public holidays.

Become a Client

Thank you for your interest in Nedbank Private Wealth. Please call us on +44 (0)1624 645000 or complete the requested information and one of our team will get back to you soon. We look forward to speaking with you.  Please note: If you are an EU resident, we are unfortunately unable to offer our services to you at present.

* Required fields

Contact Us

Please call us today on +44 (0)1624 645000. Our office hours are weekdays from 8am to 8pm (UK time), except for UK public holidays.


Or please complete and submit the below form and one of the team will get back to you as requested.

* Required fields

Search suggestions