March 2019 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

The positive trend for risk assets observed since the beginning of the year extended throughout February. The MSCI World Index in local currencies gained another 3.2%, bringing the year-to-date performance up to 11%. The spreads of credit and emerging market debt also continued to contract, with high-yield bonds now having erased most of their losses of November and December. Logically, the more defensive assets such as government debt and gold ended the month on a weaker note, with yields moving higher and the price of gold dropping back to its end 2018 level. The major currency crosses evolved within tight ranges to remain little changed so far this year.

Continue Reading

February 2019 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

What a difference a month makes! For investors gripped by fear during the manic month of December, January provided a much-needed relief rally of risk assets. Global equity markets had their best month since October 2015, with a 7.7% gain for the MSCI World Index, and credit spreads dropped back to end-November levels, or even lower. Commodity prices also rebounded, lead by oil and industrious metals. In foreign-exchange markets, emerging markets and commodity-related currencies performed the best. In this environment, it is also worth noting the positive performance of more defensive assets, including government debt and gold.

Continue Reading

December 2018 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

November was another volatile month for equity markets as they experienced big swings in the wake of the October rout. They did manage to post positive monthly returns across most regions, nevertheless, with EM equities faring the best. It was another tough month for some big U.S. names such as Apple and Facebook, which were down by 18% and 7% respectively. Within other asset classes, government bonds saw their yields decline, high yield spreads widened significantly whereas the price of oil dropped by 22%. The major currencies ended the month relatively unchanged as did the price of gold.

Continue Reading

November 2018 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

October lived up to its reputation of being a volatile month for equity markets reflected by the 7.9% drop of the MSCI World Index, in local currency terms. The rout was widespread as stock markets across the world were hit by fears over slowing growth, trade wars and higher interest rates. For once, American equities failed to offer any additional resistance than the other markets and a number of technology favourites, such as Amazon and Netflix, suffered from heavy selling. The fall of the equity market showed a lot of similarity to the one that took place in late January/early February; equities suddenly dived following a period of fast rising Treasury yields whereas safe haven assets did not benefit that much from the sell off; 10-year Treasury yields ended the month 8bps higher and the price of gold appreciated by less than 2%.

Continue Reading

October 2018 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

Global equity markets ended September with modest gains following a weak start to the month. For once, Japanese equities were the outperformers while emerging market equities showed some signs of stabilisation, even if ending the month a little lower. A higher appetite for risk was reflected by the rise of the safest sovereign debt yields and a tightening of spreads for high-yield and emerging market bonds (- 38bps on the J.P. Morgan EMBI Global Spread Index). As to be expected in such a context, the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen depreciated against other major currencies.

Continue Reading

September 2018 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

August was a mixed month for global equity markets as the MSCI World Local Currency Index’s 1.1% gain was only the result of higher U.S. equity prices; in contrast, the Euro Stoxx 50 Index lost 3.8%, the Topix 1% and the MSCI EM Index 2.9%, in dollar terms, due to concerns about the ongoing trade dispute and the stress in emerging markets. This higher aversion to risk was also reflected by the significant strength of the Swiss franc, which appreciated by 2.9% against the euro, and by lower yields on U.S. Treasuries and Bunds. Emerging market bonds were badly impacted by EM currency weakness, with the J.P. Morgan EMBI Global Spread Index widening by 46bps to 400bps.

Continue Reading

August 2018 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

July was a strong month for global equity markets as the MSCI World Local Currency Index gained 3.1%, with positive performances recorded across most regions. Concerns about the trade war took a back seat as investors focused on the supportive reporting of second quarter earnings, especially in the U.S. This higher appetite for risk assets was also reflected by the rise of sovereign debt yields, with that of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note moving back close to 3%, and gold continuing to drift lower.       

Continue Reading

June 2018 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

May was eventful as an early-month rally of equity markets was derailed by a flare-up of political and geopolitical risks, with Italy being in the eye of the storm. Safe haven assets, including U.S. Treasuries, Bunds, the Swiss franc and the yen, rallied whereas the ongoing appreciation of the dollar accelerated. Emerging markets’ assets remained under pressure due to a mix of rising Treasury yields, a stronger dollar as well as idiosyncratic issues in countries such as Turkey and Argentina. Global financial markets were also impacted by geopolitical headlines related to the tensions over trade between the United States and China, the U.S. pull-out from the Iran nuclear deal and the holding or not of the U.S./North Korea summit.

Continue Reading

May 2018 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

A number of trend reversals were observed during April as European equities outperformed and as the dollar started to rebound; G-7 sovereign debt also returned to its early-year trend of rising yields, with U.S. Treasuries recording the steepest moves. When looking at year-to-date returns of regional equity indices, European equities have more than made up their underperformance relative to U.S. and emerging markets. Part of this catch-up can be explained by the rebound of the dollar, which appreciated by 2% against the euro during April. Japanese equities also performed well during the month as the Topix Index gained 3.6%, helped by the 2.8% depreciation of the yen vs. the dollar.

Continue Reading

April 2018 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

March was another tumultuous month for equity markets, which have moved from an early-year state of euphoria to a state of confusion. With a lack of news related to the profitability of companies, stocks have been hurt by concerns about a trade war, reshuffles within the White House and a series of negative developments relative to the technology sector. Maybe surprisingly, defensive assets have not benefited that much from the volatility of stock markets; gold was virtually unchanged, government bond yields have drifted only a little lower while the Swiss franc and the yen, the perennial safe haven currencies, barely varied over the month.

Continue Reading