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Harrison Rowe Financial Planning is part of a global group of businesses known asThe Harrison Rowe Group. Harrison Rowe Financial Planning Limited is registered in England and is established at 56, Wentworth Road, Blacker Hill, Barnsley, United Kingdom, S74 0RP, which is its registered office.
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These Terms & Conditions were last updated on 6th February 2019.
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Weekly Market Update June 9th 2019
Global Equities Decline on Regulatory Concerns
Global stocks suffered their worst month of the year in May as trade tensions amplified global growth concerns, sending investors piling into the government bond market and these woes continued into Monday as markets were rocked by concerns the Department of Justice was considering anti-trust action against Alphabet, the owner of Google, and anti-competition probes against Facebook and Amazon. Technology shares tumbled, as a result, dragging the rest of the market down which was already reeling from Donald Trump’s new tariff threats on Mexico over migration.
To add fuel to the fire, news over the weekend that China had stepped up its counter-offensive in the trade conflict after announcing it would establish a blacklist of foreign companies that harm the interest of Chinese groups further weighed on sentiment. Over in Europe, shares recovered from early losses to end the day higher as risk tolerance returned, despite the latest twist in the US-China trade dispute. Asian stocks were mixed but mostly lower. Australia’s ASX 200 index posted a large fall, down 1.2 percent, ahead of Tuesday’s Reserve Bank of Australia policy meeting where officials were expected to cut the main policy rate by 25 basis points from 1.50 percent to a new record low of 1.25 percent to help push headline inflation back towards their target range of 2 to 3 percent.
Stocks Rally on Fed Rate Cut Speculation
On Tuesday US stocks recorded their biggest one-day gain in five months as Fed Chairman Powell appeared to say the Fed may adopt a more accommodative policy stance. This rally continued through to Thursday as optimism the US and Mexico could strike a deal to avert proposed tariffs prompted a reversal in Treasuries, which had earlier been boosted by a weaker reading on the US jobs market than Wall Street had expected. On the negative side were new comments from President Trump threatening to proceed with new tariffs on Chinese imports. Markets continued to focus on expectations for US rate cuts and hopes were fanned by New York Fed President John Williams, who said the Fed was troubled by excessively low inflation and concerned about the impact of tariffs. The S&P 500 ended the week down 1.2% and the Technology focused Nasdaq Composite down 2.3%.
Over in Europe, equity markets had a mixed rest of the week, initially buoyed by speculation the ECB was poised to ease and in addition, comments by Prime Minister Silvio Conte that Italy would respect EU budget rules until the rules are changed. However, the European Commission threatened disciplinary action against Italy for breaking EU budget and debt rules, unless Italy acts to reduce its budget deficit, Italian officials pushed back, and the dispute revived wider worries about the stability of the Eurozone. European markets were further disappointed by the ECB’s policy statement, which was not as dovish as hoped and markets were also weary of Eurozone inflation which fell surprisingly sharply in May to an annual rate of just 1.2 percent, down fully 0.5 percent equalling the lowest yearly post since February 2018. Over in the UK, construction had an unexpectedly poor May with sector PMI falling nearly 2 points to 48.6, it’s third sub-50 reading in the last four months and indicative of the sharpest contraction in business activity since March 2018. The Eurostoxx 50 ended the week down 1.4% and the UK FTSE 100 ended down 0.4%.
Asian markets had a mixed rest of the week. Ongoing concerns about disputes with the US over trade and technology issues weighed on the Shanghai Composite index. However, Asian equities rallied following the lead from the US recovering some of the earlier heavy losses with the rally running out of steam on Thursday. At the time of writing, the Chinse Shanghai Composite ended the period down 1 percent, the Japanese Topix was down 0.84%. In Australia, The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its main policy rate by 25 basis points from 1.50 percent to a new a record-low of 1.25 percent, in line with the consensus forecast to help drive inflation which has been below target for three quarters and Australia’s GDP increased by 0.4 percent in the quarter in the three months to March. This first interest rate cut in almost three years drove Australian equities higher ending the period up 1.4%.
Oil Prices Declines
US oil prices fell sharply after domestic stockpiles unexpectedly rose to hit a 22-month high. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 15.3 per cent to $53.17 a barrel and Brent Crude fell 13.6 percent to $62.38 a barrel.
German Government Bond Yields Fall to all-time Low
On Monday, German 10-year government bond yields fell to an all-time low as investors scrambled to buy the safe-haven asset amid the worsening global economic outlook. The 10-year Bund yields touched a fresh record low of -0.219% (bond yields move inversely to price). Portuguese and Spanish bonds also touched new all-time lows, while US Treasury yields fell to their lowest point since 2017. However, on Thursday U.S. government-bond yield recovered slightly, led by declines in shorter-term debt, one day ahead of a much-anticipated jobs report ending the week at 2.32%. German 10-year government bond yields ended the week at -0.229% and the UK 10 Year Gilt Yield ended the week at 0.852%.
In Other News
UK Fund Manager Neil Woodford had his flagship fund suspended after a prolonged period of poor performance led to mass redemptions. This suspension is very unusual as most UK Equity income funds are invested in predominantly large UK companies which are renowned for their liquidity. However, Neil Woodford took the unusual decision to add small unquoted and less liquid stocks to the fund and these stocks are harder to sell. Mr. Woodford’s firm says the suspension will give it “time to reposition the element of the fund’s portfolio invested in unquoted and less liquid stocks, into more liquid investments”.
Issues Under Discussion
Markets continue to be plagued with uncertainty with threats of more trade sanctions and tit for tat tariffs between the US and China further threatening to derail global growth. In Europe, Italy’s populist government is having a running battle with the ECB and in the UK, the Brexit Saga appears to be never-ending. These uncertainties have weighed on global equity markets and have had a detrimental effect on global growth with policymakers now muting monetary easing amongst major economies. Many of these issues could abruptly come to end as we approach the US elections and the Brexit deadline nears; however until we have clarity, these issues will continue to drive market volatility. Consequently, within our portfolios we have maintained a balanced approach, holding a neutral weight to equities and continuing to look for strategies that will provide less volatile outcomes.
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