Global stock markets pulled back this quarter. Stocks started the year off strong but sold off in February and March. This ended the streak for positive consecutive positive months at 13. The sell off can be attributed to trade tensions, a slumping US Dollar and economic data that missed expectations. Global equities fell almost 5% in local currency.
Global stocks hit two milestones in 2017. First, international stocks outperformed US stocks (S&P 500) for the first time since 2012. Second, international stocks did not have a single down month this entire year. This was the first time in the history of the index that it happened. 2017 was quite a year!
International markets have had their best first half performance since 2009. The rally was driven by a synchronized global economic recovery, better than expected corporate earnings and reduced political risks.
International markets had an impressive start to the year. All major developed markets were positive for the first quarter and global indexes outperformed the US markets. The US Dollar weakened in the quarter which helped lift over all returns. The top performing sectors were technology, consumer staples and consumer discretionary. The energy sector sold off in the quarter.
Globally stocks finished the year on a downbeat note with a slight decline in the fourth quarter. US stocks outperformed their global peers by a healthy margin in 2016. Some of the post US election rally did find its way into the global stock markets, but a stronger US Dollar neutralized much of the returns.
Global markets had their best quarterly returns since 2013 during this third quarter. Stocks outside of the US outpaced the S&P 500 by 2.5% beating the US market for the first time since Q1 of 2015. Investors immediate fears about the BREXIT vote repercussions were set aside and their attention was turned towards actions from central bankers around the world.
The United Kingdom’s (UK) vote to leave the European Union (EU) set off a shock wave across the global political establishment and global financial markets. The outcome of the BREXIT vote was unexpected and global stock markets sold off sharply in the days after the June 23rd referendum.
The first quarter sent investors around the world on a wild ride. Stocks started the year off with a dramatic sell off. In the first six weeks global markets fell 12% before staging a furious rally to post only slight losses. Early in the year investors were concerned that energy prices were in free fall, China’s economy was stumbling and the Federal Reserve raised rates prematurely.
Stocks around the world rebounded in the 4th quarter but returns for the year were mostly negative.