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Market Wrap February 2021

Vaccination rollouts en masse

  • Global shares fell 0.8% and 0.4% in hedged and unhedged terms, respectively. Global equities were influenced in part by volatility in US markets. Sizeable retail-initiated positioning in certain small stocks triggered de-leveraging (selling positions) by investors and contributed to broader market weakness. In addition, concerns additional stimulus would not be forthcoming weighed on the US market.
  • Emerging markets rose 3.7% during January outperforming developed markets. This was due to a strong bounce back by Alibaba following the reappearance of co-founder Jack Ma and removal of US delisting fears following President Biden’s inauguration.
  • Australian shares outperformed global shares rising 0.3% in January. The market was led by strength from the financial (up 2.2%) and energy (up 1.3%) sectors. Energy stocks rose in line with continued strength in oil prices as investors anticipated economic recovery (and higher oil demand) after vaccination rollout.
  • The Australian dollar (AUD) fell 0.6% against both major currencies and the US dollar.
  • Fixed income returns were negative following rising bond yields domestically and internationally. Stronger economic results with Europe for example seeing a better-than-expected decline in Q4 economic activity stoked conviction in the recovery theme.

As coronavirus cases slow

Globally

  • Coronavirus case growth globally appears to be materially slowing. Vaccine rollouts appear to be having an impact with the rollout in Israel performing well in protecting more vulnerable elderly victims according to the Israeli Ministry of Health.
  • We saw an orderly transition to the new Biden Administration in the US with the signing of new Executive Orders flagging a commitment to climate change policy while President Biden also signalled plans for further fiscal stimulus

Locally

  • The RBA left interest rates on hold at 0.1% while announcing a further $100bn in bond purchases at its February meeting. This is designed to keep borrowing costs low for both governments and businesses while also maintaining downward pressure on the Australian Dollar.
  • The unemployment rate fell to 6.6% in December, pleasingly declining from 6.8% in November thanks to continued strong jobs growth.
  • Geopolitical tensions with China remained but did not accelerate in January.

Major asset class performance

Asset classes 1 month % 1 year % 5 years (p.a.) %
Australian shares 0.3% -3.1% 10.0%
Global shares (hedged) -0.8% 10.1% 12.5%
Global shares (unhedged) -0.4% 0.9% 11.6%
Global small companies (unhedged) 2.7% 6.7% 12.3%
Global emerging markets (unhedged) 3.7% 11.6% 13.2%
Global listed property (hedged)
-0.5% -15.3% 3.5%
Cash 0.0% 0.3% 1.5%
Australian fixed income -0.4% 1.7% 4.2%
International fixed income -0.6% 2.6% 4.1%
Source: Bloomberg & IOOF, 31 January 2021
Indices used: Australian Shares: S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index, Global shares (hedged): MSCI World ex Australia Net Total Return (in AUD), Global shares (unhedged): MSCI World ex Australia Hedged AUD Net Total Return Index; Global small companies (unhedged): MSCI World Small Cap Net Total Return USD Index (in AUD); Global emerging markets (unhedged): MSCI Emerging Markets EM Net Total Return AUD Index; Global listed property (hedged): FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Index Hedged in AUD Net Total Return; Cash: Bloomberg AusBond Bank Bill Index; Australian fixed income: Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index; International fixed income: Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Total Return Index Value Hedged AUD
Please note
: Past performance is not indicative of future performance

Currency markets

Exchange rates At close on 31/1 1 month change % 1 year change %
USD/AUD 0.76 -0.6% 14.2%
Euro/AUD 0.63 0.0% 4.4%
Yen/AUD 80.0 0.7% 10.4%
Trade weighted index 63.0 -0.6% 8.4%
Source: Bloomberg & IOOF, 31 January 2021. All foreign exchange rates are rounded to two decimal places where appropriate.
Please note: Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

Disclaimer: This report has been prepared by the IOOF Research team for RI Advice Group Pty Ltd ABN 23 001 774 125 AFSL 238429. RI Advice Group Pty Ltd is a company within the IOOF group of companies consisting of IOOF Holdings Limited ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate. This report is current as at the date of issue but may be superseded by future publications. The information in the report may not be reproduced, distributed or published by any recipient for any purpose without the prior written consent of RI Advice Group Pty Ltd. This report may be used on the express condition that you have obtained a copy of the RI Advice Group Pty Ltd Financial Services Guide (FSG) from the website. RI Advice Group Pty Ltd and/or its associated entities, directors and/or its employees may have a material interest in, and may earn brokerage from, any securities or other financial products referred to in this report, or may provide services to the companies referred to in this report. This report is not available for distribution outside Australia and may not be passed on to any third person without the prior written consent of RI Advice Group Pty. RI Advice Group Pty and associated persons (including persons from whom information in this report is sourced) may do business or seek to do business with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that the firms or other such persons may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should consider this report as a single factor in making an investment decision. This report has been prepared in good faith and with reasonable care. Neither RI Advice Group Pty nor any other person makes any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, reasonableness or completeness of the contents of this document (including any projections, forecasts, estimates, prospects and returns and any omissions from this document). To the maximum extent permitted by law RI Advice Group Pty, its related bodies corporate and their respective officers, employees, representatives and associates disclaim and exclude all liability for any loss or damage (whether foreseeable or not foreseeable) suffered or incurred by any person acting on any information (including any projections, forecasts, estimates, prospects and returns) provided in, or omitted from this report. General Advice Disclaimer: The information in this report is general advice only and does not take into account your financial circumstances, needs and objectives. Before making any decision based on this report, you should assess your own circumstances or seek advice from a financial adviser. Where applicable, you should obtain and consider a copy of the Product Disclosure Statement, prospectus or other disclosure material relevant to the financial product before you acquire a financial product. It is important to note that investments may go up and down and past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

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Elliot Watson*

Elliot Watson*

Elliot Watson is an award-winning Certified Financial Planner with over 15 years' experience. He is passionate about helping people grow and protect their wealth.

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