Market Update - March 2024

Walbrook Wealth ManagementApril 09, 2024

Market Returns

  • Australian Equities: The S&P/ASX 200 and Small Ordinaries indexes rose by 0.79% and 1.72% respectively, reflecting a continued upward trend in the domestic market.
  • Global Equities: Internationally, the MSCI World NR Index surged by 5.82%, while emerging markets showed impressive growth, with the MSCI Emerging Markets NR Index up by 6.35%.
  • Property: The real estate sector saw mixed results; while Australian A-REITs grew by 4.75%, global real estate equities slightly declined.
  • Fixed Interest: In the fixed income space, the Bloomberg Ausbond Composite Index saw a minor decrease, highlighting the nuanced performances across bond markets.

Australian Equities

February marked another month of positive gains for Australian equities, led by the IT, Consumer Discretionary, and Property sectors. However, Energy, Materials, and Health Care sectors faced declines, balancing the overall market performance.

Global Equities

Global equity markets continued their rally, with significant gains in the US and Japan. The Nikkei 225 notably broke past its historic peak, while the CSI 300 and Hang Seng indices rebounded strongly from previous lows.

Property

Australian Real Estate Investment Trusts (A-REITs) continued to perform strongly, contrary to the slight regression in global real estate equities. The domestic infrastructure sector, however, started the year on a softer note.

Fixed Income

The Reserve Bank of Australia held the cash rate steady at 4.35%, amidst discussions on future interest rate movements. Bond yields varied, reflecting a cautious approach to inflation and economic growth.

Currencies & Commodities

The Australian dollar experienced fluctuations against major currencies, notably depreciating against the USD while appreciating against the JPY. Commodity prices and currency movements remained a critical factor for market dynamics.

Economic Key Points

  • Australian inflation continued to moderate, with the RBA maintaining the cash rate amidst uncertain economic forecasts.
  • The US faced higher-than-expected inflation, influencing market expectations regarding interest rate cuts.
  • The UK confirmed a recession with marginal GDP decline, while China set a modest growth target amid economic challenges.

Australia

Despite a slight decrease in inflation and a modest GDP growth, the RBA's cautious stance on interest rates highlights ongoing economic uncertainties. The job market and consumer sentiment also presented mixed signals.

Global

Global markets experienced robust growth, driven by strong corporate earnings and policy adjustments, reflecting the interconnected nature of international economies.

US

Persistently high inflation and a strong job market in the US indicate a complex economic landscape, impacting global financial markets.

Eurozone

Inflation rates in the Eurozone showed a slight decline, with economic indicators offering a nuanced view of the region's economic health.

UK

The UK's economy confirmed a technical recession, setting the stage for potential interest rate adjustments by the Bank of England in the near future.

China

China's growth targets and economic indicators suggest a cautious outlook amidst efforts to stimulate recovery and manage inflation.

Japan

Japan's economy showed resilience, narrowly avoiding recession, with consumer confidence reaching a multi-year high.

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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