Market Update - February 2024

Walbrook Wealth ManagementMarch 12, 2024

Market Returns

  • Australian Equities: The S&P/ASX 200 and Small Ordinaries indexes climbed by 1.19% and 0.90% respectively, showcasing robust growth in the domestic market.
  • Global Equities: The MSCI World NR Index witnessed a 4.46% upswing, with notable variance across regions, particularly in Asian markets where China and Hong Kong experienced downturns.
  • Property: Australian A-REITs showed positive movement, whereas global real estate equities faced declines, highlighting the divergent paths within the property sector.
  • Fixed Interest: The Bloomberg Ausbond Composite Index slightly increased, indicating cautious optimism within the bond market amidst global economic uncertainties.

Australian Equities

January saw the ASX 200 reaching record highs, with sectors such as Energy, Financials, and Health Care leading the gains. However, Materials and Utilities lagged behind, impacted by fluctuating commodity prices and market conditions.

Global Equities

Despite the US Federal Reserve's stance on interest rates, global equity markets advanced. Europe and the US posted gains, while Chinese markets dipped significantly, influenced by manufacturing downturns and the Evergrande liquidation.

Property

The Australian real estate sector began the year on a positive note, in contrast to the negative performance of global real estate equities. Australian infrastructure also faced challenges, reflecting the sector's complex dynamics.

Fixed Income

The fixed income landscape showed resilience with slight movements in bond yields, as markets awaited central bank decisions. Investors are closely monitoring economic conditions, particularly the impact of inflation on monetary policy.

Currencies & Commodities

The Australian dollar experienced a decline against major currencies, with significant movements influenced by global economic news and domestic CPI data. The currency's performance against the JPY, USD, GBP, and EUR varied, reflecting the intricate balance of international trade and economic policies.

Economic Key Points

  • A notable decrease in Australian inflation offers a cautious optimism.
  • Mixed inflation trends across the UK, Eurozone, and the US highlight the complex global economic environment.
  • Central banks maintained current cash rates, indicating a wait-and-see approach to future economic developments.

Australia

Lower inflation and consumer sentiment indicate an economy grappling with high interest rates and cost of living pressures. Retail sales and PMI data suggest a cautious consumer environment, with trade surplus figures closely watched by investors.

US

The Federal Reserve's decision to hold rates steady underscores a commitment to stabilizing inflation. Employment figures and PMI data provide insights into the US economy's resilience amidst rate cut speculations.

Eurozone

The ECB's steady interest rates reflect ongoing inflation management efforts, with economic indicators such as PPI, retail sales, and unemployment rates offering a glimpse into the region's economic challenges and opportunities.

UK

The Bank of England's signals towards potential rate adjustments reflect the complex interplay between inflation management and economic growth, influencing consumer confidence and retail activity.

China

China's consumer prices and PPI figures underscore the economy's deflationary pressures, with PMI data highlighting the ongoing challenges in manufacturing and services sectors.

Japan

The Bank of Japan's policy decisions and economic indicators such as inflation, unemployment, consumer confidence, and PMI data paint a picture of an economy navigating through inflationary pressures and growth prospects.

This article contains information first published by Lonsec. Voted Australia’s #1 Research House for 2019.

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Walbrook Wealth Management is a trading name of Barbacane Advisors Pty Ltd (ABN 32 626 694 139; Australian Financial Services Licence No. 512465). Walbrook Wealth Management (Credit Representative Number 534783) is authorised under Australian Credit Licence 389328.

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