The following key developments occurred over February and March, as volatility returned to the system after a relatively benign 2017.
- There was a sharp sell-off on the 8th of February (Global equities fell by 3.5% in GBP terms, with US equities detracting by 4.5% in GBP terms).
- Markets did recover from this particular event and exhibited a strong rally at the end of the second week of March, following the release of the US payroll data which showed an increase in jobs created to 313,000 (with the speed of annual wage growth dropping from the previous month).
- Global equity returns were largely affected by US politics, as the Trump administration set out plans to implement 25% tariffs on approximately $60 billion of Chinese imports –creating potential for a global trade war.
- Performance was also curbed by concerns around Facebook’s use of member data, with the stock sliding in value over March and causing a wider sell-off in technology stocks.
- The combination of these various levers translated into equity markets free falling again on the 22nd of March (with the S&P 500 falling by 2.7% in GBP terms) before recovering slightly in the final week of March.
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