Viewpoint – Dec 2019
Markets are heading into the final weeks of the year with some extraordinary gains for the year to date. November proved
to be another strong month for risk assets, led by equities and in particular the US, up 3.6% for the month, taking its return so far this year to 26.9%. The contrast with the fourth quarter of last year, when Wall Street fell 20%, could not be more stark, and reflects to a large degree the policy pivot by the Fed, followed by other central banks, from tightening to easing policy. Markets have shrugged off the sharp downturn in global trade and manufacturing, as well as a tough year for corporate profits, which have been broadly flat, and have recovered all the ground lost in that sharp setback of Q4 2018. While the US has led the way and has reached a new all-time high other equity markets have also performed well: Europe ex UK gained 2.6% in November, 25.1% this year so far, while even the laggards among developed markets, Japan and the UK, have gained 16.4% and 13.3% respectively this year, after solid returns in November. The MSCI World index, dominated as it is by the US, was up 2.8% in the month, 24.0% year to date.