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  • Equity markets made gains in the first quarter of 2019, rebounding from a weak finish to 2018 as worries over China-US trade tariffs eased and major central banks indicated a pragmatic approach to interest rate increases based on the macroeconomic backdrop.
  • US equities rose 11% in Sterling terms after a turbulent finish to 2018.
  • Eurozone equities also recovered well, supported by the European Central Bank’s announcement that interest rates are unlikely to rise before 2021.
  • UK equities performed well over the quarter, despite ongoing uncertainty about the terms of Brexit, the FTSE 100 returned 9.5%, close to the 10% gain of the MSCI World.
  • A majority in the House of Commons is attempting to block a no-deal Brexit. MPs also approved a bill that compels Theresa May to seek a further extension to Article 50 if no deal is agreed by 12 April (which seems likely). Because the Brexit process could take a considerable time EU President Donald Tusk has offered the UK an extension on Brexit of up to 31 March 2020 unless the House of Commons passes an exit treaty before. We are keeping a close eye on developments and the possible impact on UK and European equities.
  • Japanese shares gained but were muted compared in Sterling terms to other developed markets returning 3% in Sterling terms.
  • Emerging markets equities recovered strongly in Q1, led by China. Government spending and changes to taxes to support the Chinese domestic economy were beneficial.
  • The market gyrations at the end of 2018 lead us to remain alert to the possibility of further volatility, but we consider it important to remain invested and not to make changes based on short term investment performance.
  • Our investment process remains centred upon disciplined active management and diversification among geographies and asset classes to spread risk.
  • We are looking into options which have the potential to act as “ballast” in portfolios during market volatility and will be in touch in due course.

This article is for information purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice and is not a recommendation for investment. The value of your investment and the income from them may go down as well as up and you could back less than you invested.

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