March, as with the quarter as a whole, posted strong returns for risk assets. Equity markets continued their rise, albeit with some notable sector rotation along the way, with the S&P500 reaching new highs and settling above the historic 4,000 level. All this was against a backdrop of rising COVID-19 rates in large parts of Europe, India and South America and fears of further restrictions. But the overarching COVID-19 narrative remained focused on the vaccine rollout that continued to build momentum, with both the US and UK leading the way and shedding a tantalising light on the potential for a vaccine led recovery.

And recovery was at the forefront with indicators pointing towards a sharp uptick in global economic activity, the US in particular showing signs of a pronounced recovery with payroll numbers towards the end of the month surprising on the upside. This continues a trend of falling unemployment and rising production.

Bond markets continued to show signs of weakness at the longer end albeit without quite the same pronounced shift in yields that we saw earlier in the quarter. Our favoured area of short duration high yield managed to protect against much of the weakness.

FTSE 100 6483.43 6713.63
DJ Ind. Average 30932.37 32981.55
S&P Comp 3811.15 3972.89
Nasdaq 100 12909.44 13091.44
Nikkei 28966.01 29178.8
£/$ 1.3933 1.3783
€/£ 0.86703 0.85106
€/$ 1.2075 1.173
£ Base Rate 0.10 0.10
Brent Crude 64.42 62.74
Gold 1734.04 1707.71

This month’s values quoted as at 31/03/2021. The above values are sourced from Bloomberg and are quoted in the relevant currency.