December 2017 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

November turned out to be quite eventful, especially when compared to the relatively quiet previous months. The performances of equity markets across the world were far from being homogeneous; US equities hit new records, emerging markets ended flat and European equities lost ground, due to the impact of an appreciating euro. Short-lived stress was observed in both the US and European high-yield bond markets whereas Chinese assets were affected by authorities’ efforts to limit levels of debt. Finally, the high-flying technology sector was impacted by a late-month sell-off. Profit-taking and a switch into sectors seen benefiting the most from the potential reduction in the US corporate tax rate were behind this correction of tech stocks.

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November 2017 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

October was another strong month for global equity markets as the MSCI World Index gained 2.5% in local currencies. The ongoing rally was primarily sustained by positive economic data, robust third quarter corporate earnings and a dovish European Central Bank. Rising expectations for US tax cuts and a general election victory by Japan PM Abe also contributed to the supportive environment for risk assets. The US dollar extended its September rebound and appreciated versus all the other major currencies. Bond yields edged lower in the Eurozone while the yield on 10-year Treasuries ended the month only four basis points higher than at the end of September.

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October 2017 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

The trends observed during September were not necessarily those anticipated by many seasoned market investors and commentators. A rise of volatility and a correction of equity markets had often been put forward but the end result was a good performance of equity markets and volatility close to record lows. Bond yields trended higher while the US dollar finally managed to regain some composure as it rebounded against most currencies. Within the equity asset class, European equities clearly outperformed, for the first time since April. Emerging market equities were impacted by some profit-taking and the recovery of the dollar. The dollar was also a headwind for gold as were the rising real interest rates.

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September 2017 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

Global equities managed to end August virtually unchanged even though it was quite a volatile month for financial markets. Sovereign debt performed well as key central bankers refrained from discussing any changes to their monetary policies whereas gold benefited from safe haven demand and lower real interest rates. The euro reached new year-highs against other major currencies and peaked close to a parity of 1.21 versus the dollar before retreating somewhat. Finally, oil prices dropped as severe flooding in Texas restricted  refining capacity, resulting in lower demand for crude oil.

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August 2017 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

The euro was the star performer during a month of July which also saw global equity markets record additional gains. Developed sovereign debt markets regained their composure following the late-June/early-July correction while the US dollar continued to depreciate against most of its peers. The equities of emerging markets outperformed once again as they recorded a 4.4% gain in local currency terms. In contrast, the appreciation of the euro prevented equities of the Eurozone from making any significant gains.

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June 2017 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

May was another positive month for global equity markets whereas the dollar remained under pressure and government yields declined. US equity indexes ended the month at record levels, emerging markets continued to outperform while European equity markets took a breather following a period of strength. As largely expected, the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron was elected French president and it was a case of “sell on the news” as European equities peaked immediately following the second round’s outcome.

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May 2017 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

The month of April got off to a difficult start for risk assets before ending on a very positive note. Following a strong first quarter for equities, investors turned more cautious in view of rising U.S. tensions with North Korea, Syria and Russia, and concerns about the French presidential elections. Gold, Treasuries, Bunds and the yen were well bid while volatility spiked as the VIX Index reached levels last observed after Trump’s election last November. However, these trends were quickly reversed and volatility collapsed to a ten-year low. Better-than expected first-quarter earnings reports and the first-round results of the French elections were the main drivers for strong equity gains during the last week of the month.

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Apr. 2017 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

The modest percentage changes recorded by certain asset classes during March fail to tell the whole story. In particular, significant movements were observed during the month within the bond and FX markets. For example, the 10-year US Treasury yield climbed from 2.39% to 2.63% on March 13 before retreating back to its start-of-month level. This was largely due to the Federal Reserve appearing as less hawkish following its March decision to hike rates by 0.25% to a new 0.75% - 1% range. 10-year Bunds followed a similar path as they spiked from 0.21% to 0.48% to end the month at 0.33% as investors reacted to the minutes of the latest ECB meeting. The dollar also experienced a rollercoaster ride as it consistently lost support until recovering at the tail-end of the month.

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Mar. 2017 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective

The trends observed in February were clearly entrenched, with global equity prices moving higher, bond yields declining and the dollar recovering some of its early year losses against other majors.

Equity markets continue to be driven by an improving economic environment, higher inflation expectations and anticipations of supportive policies by the Trump administration. Despite concerns about the timing and implementation of these new US policies and rising political risks in Europe, the levels of volatility have remained close to record lows. This is reflected by the reading of the CBOE Volatility Index which is currently about 25 percent below its five-year average. 

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Dec. 2016 || Newsletter

Investment Perspective
November was an eventful month for financial markets following the election of Donald Trump as the next US president. Following an initial shock and a strong bid for safe haven assets as soon as the results were first announced, the ensuing reaction of the markets turned out to be as unexpected as Trump’s victory itself.

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