The week in review

The week of 25 January saw poor equity performance, with the MSCI All Countries World Index down -3.7% in Sterling terms. and -3.5% in US Dollar terms. Read our review for details.
Published 2 February
2 mins

What’s happened in markets?

FTSE All Share-3.8-0.816.1-0.8-7.5-0.55.6
Euro Stoxx 50-3.4-1.818.0-1.8-
Japan Topix-
MSCI Asia Pac.-
MSCI Emerg. Mkts.-
Jo’burg All Shares-
UK Gov’t Bonds0.0-1.7-0.6-
US Gov’t Bonds0.1-1.0-0.8-
Global Corp. Bonds-0.1-0.81.9-
Emerg. Mkt. Local0.0-1.36.5-

Figures as of end of trading on 29/1/2021

Both Moderna and Pfizer released results showing that their vaccines remain effective against both the South African and UK variants, although not as effective as against the original strains. As such, Moderna is now working towards a booster, while trial data was published by NOVAX and Johnson & Johnson, with the latter seen as a game changer as it only requires one dose.

The vaccine roll out also became political as the EU and AstraZeneca attempted to iron out vaccine supply issues, with EU officials demanding the use of British production facilities to cover the shortfalls. Meanwhile, the EU tightened the rules on the export of COVID-19 vaccines, which now require companies to obtain prior authorisation before shipping vaccines, which could spell trouble for the UK in the coming week.

The US released Q4 gross domestic product (GDP) data showing the economy grew at an annualised rate of +4.0%, meaning that GDP for the whole of 2020 contracted by -3.5%. It came as the Federal Reserve announced no changes to its current policy stance, while its key message is that “the whole focus on exit is premature”. The latest economic growth figures for Germany, France and Spain were weaker than that of the US, but surprised to the upside. Meanwhile in the UK, the unemployment rate for the three months to November rose to 5.0% (instead of the 5.1% expected), its highest level in over four years. Finally, the International Monetary Fund revised its global growth forecast for 2021 up to +5.5% and left its 2022 forecast unchanged at +4.2%.   

While bond markets were relatively quiet, all equity markets declined by at least 3%, with the weakest regions being Asia ex Japan (-4.97%) and Emerging Markets (-4.65%). The market sell-off wasn’t, however, focused on any particular investment styles. There was barely any difference between growth and value stocks, or large capitalisation stocks and their small peers (all down -3.74%). Defensive sectors, such as utilities
(-2.27%) and consumer staples (-1.80%) held up a little better than the cyclical sectors, e.g. materials (-4.58%) and industrials (-4.35%).

Also in the news was the battle between Wall Street and speculative retail investors that led to a number of down-trodden stocks being pushed up by around 300% at their highest points. This was due to coordinated, targeted investments by users of the WallStreetBets forum on the Reddit social media platform. It seems the aim was to target stocks shorted by hedge funds, such as video-game retailer GameStop, in the hope of triggering institutional investor losses. The efforts appear to have been successful given reports from hedge funds, with the role of the US market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as trading platforms, being questioned.




UK GDP (QoQ)16.0-2.0
UK PMI50.440.6
UK CPI (YoY)0.6
EU GDP (QoQ)12.5-1.2
EU PMI49.147.5
EU CPI(YoY)-0.3
US GDP (QoQ)44.3
US PMI58.0
US CPI (YoY)1.41.3

What’s happened in portfolios?

Among equity holdings, the strategies most exposed to Emerging Markets and cyclicals gave back a little of recent relative gains during the week of 25 January, while those more exposed to developed market stable earners outperformed. Over January, however, our Emerging Market exposure added value given it makes up a significant percentage of our overall equity positions.

Within bonds, there was only a minimal difference in return between our best and worst performers. And over January as a whole, we performed slightly better than the index due to our short duration positions.

Property was pretty solid last week. Global real estate investment trusts had a much better time of it than global equities, while BMO Commercial Property highlighted that rent collection had been reasonably robust and, in the first nine months of 2020, it collected 90% of rents expected, easily covering the current dividend pay-out. Renewables have benefited from the recent rise in wholesale electricity prices from the lows seen in 2020.

What's happening this week?

4 Feb • Bank of England meeting | January PMIs | 111 S&P500 firms’ earnings updates.

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.

Access more of our insights


The week in review

5 Dec

   |   4 mins

US equities rallied on the last day of November after Federal Reserve chair Powell said the pace of monetary tightening could start to slow as soon as December 2022. While in the eurozone, inflation eased for the first time in 17 months.


The week in review

29 Nov

   |   5 mins

Economic news was mixed but signs of a weaker US economy raised expectations of a slowing pace of interest rate hikes. While in the UK and Europe business activity contracted for another month fuelling recession fears.


The week in review

22 Nov

   |   4 mins

The week of 14 November saw markets cool slightly following the previous week’s rally, as investors searched for signs of a potential economic slowdown and that inflation may have peaked.


Investment seminar

18 Nov

   |   50¾ mins

In this investment seminar, we reflected on the market stimuli in 2022, as well as the positioning of our investment outlook for 2023 and the opportunities which may arise.

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