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.
Global markets had their worst quarterly performance since the depths of the 2011 Eurozone credit crisis. The turbulent market conditions were largely caused by slowing growth in China, China’s devaluation of their currency, concerns that global economic growth is declining and questions over when the US will increase interest rates.
Stocks around the world took a step back in the quarter giving up some gains from early in the year. Investors showed renewed concerns over Greece’s financial situation late in the quarter which lead to the modest sell off. China was also in focus as its market sent investors on a volatile ride. It surged higher by 37% at one point this quarter, eventually settling up 14%.
International stocks posted mixed results in the first quarter. The global equity index was largely unchanged as investors monitored the ongoing developments in Ukraine and the volatile situation in emerging markets.