Global Stocks Stage Rally After Rough October
Global equities began November with a broad rally on Thursday after a miserable October, boosted by upbeat earnings reports and signs of hope that cooler heads might prevail in the trade war between the U.S. and China. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 climbed 0.2%, setting it up for a fourth straight day of gains. Stocks in Asia, meanwhile, were mostly higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added nearly 2% to secure a second-straight day of gains and help pare its losses for the year to 15%. For the MSCI All-Country World Index, which tracks equity markets in 47 countries, October was the worst month since May 2012. The index shed over 7%, as investors became increasingly worried about tariffs, slowing global growth and higher U.S. interest rates. By Wednesday afternoon, stocks around the world had lost more than $5 trillion in value in October, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. Adding to the market’s woes has been a rare simultaneous drop in bond prices that has sent yields near their highest levels in years. In news at home, Canada’s economy grew for a seventh straight month in August, its longest expansion for more than a year. Statistics Canada said on Wednesday that August GDP edged up 0.1%. On Tuesday, the Bank of Canada confirmed that more interest rate hikes would be needed to achieve its inflation target and said now was the ideal time to remove monetary stimulus given the economy’s strength. Analysts said the BoC will be closely monitoring wage growth in the country. Meanwhile, oil fell on Thursday, hitting its lowest levels since June, due to rising concerns over weaker global demand and increased supply from the world’s major producers. Finally, China guided the yuan on Tuesday to its weakest official level in a decade. China’s currency has been hit this year by an economic slowdown, which has been exacerbated by U.S. tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods.
Markets Bounce Back After Rough Monday
For the four days covered in this report, the Dow climbed 693 points to close at 25,381, the S&P 500 added 81 points to settle at 2,740, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 267 points to close at 7,434. In Canada, the TSX was up 262 points to end at 15,150.
Do not avoid fixed income. Notwithstanding our expectation that central banks will gradually raise policy interest rates, which are highly correlated with short-term interest rates, we remain confident that long-term interest rates will remain constrained by demographic trends and excess indebtedness. Importantly, fixed income securities can offer investors very predictable cash flows to help immunize a portfolio against rising equity market volatility. Both credit and interest rate risk need to be managed tactically. Of note, many investors have recently piled into low-quality (non-investment grade) bonds that are much more likely to default or decrease in value as the business cycle matures, an action we would caution against.
(Big Picture - by Bill Curry)
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