2017 was noted for its lack of volatility, and this can be seen strongly in the performance of global equity markets. For the first time, global equities (based on the MSCI ACWI’s 30 year history) saw a rise in every month of the year. The US market (S&P 500), while not posting a rise every month, saw a positive return every month once dividends are included, the first time since 1958. The largest fall for the US market intra year was 3%, which is the smallest intra year fall in any calendar year in the post war period.
Another area of note were signs of , most notably with the interest in cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin saw a rise of 1,300% and created billionaires of the Winklevoss twins, who were previously known for claiming Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook. It was also reflected in the art world, with a world record $US450m paid for Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, shattering previous records – over double the previous record for a painting sold at auction and a third higher than the highest private sale.
So after a record breaking year, it is worthwhile reflecting on what lessons we can learn from last year.
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Click below to see expanded view of things to look out for in 2017.
Here are the five issues to watch: Greek debt negotiations, Italy’s banking system, general elections in core countries, the eurozone’s sluggish economy and Germany’s soaring current-account surplus.
2017 shapes as a pivotal year for the eurozone
US stocks have surged to record highs since Donald Trump won the US presidential election. To justify these unprecedented levels, investors are making many assumptions on how the Trump era might manifest itself across politics, economics and ultimately returns. These assumptions include that Trump will prove more moderate in power than on the campaign. Another expectation is that fiscal policy will play a bigger role in driving the US economy, which will lead to faster inflation and higher interest rates. Investors are assuming that Trump will adopt a more protectionist approach to trade but only in token ways so it doesn’t sabotage the US economy. They are confident he will refrain from any taunting of the Federal Reserve that crimps its independence. But these central scenarios appear to be on flimsier footings than many might think. Thus 2017 could prove more turbulent for US stocks than many assume.