Monthly Market Commentary - March 2019
Markets traded broadly sideways over February, with January having already seen a rebound from fourth quarter lows. European equities were the strongest performers rising 3.8%, just ahead of the 3% gain in the US and Japanese markets. Asia and emerging markets lagged other areas, the latter being down 0.7% over the month.
Dealers' Early Call
The FTSE 100 is called to open 16 points higher at 7201. Asian stocks headed to recoup much of the losses last week that were the worst so far this year. U.S. futures also edged up as worries about the global slowdown appeared to ebb, though there was no change in narrative for bonds, where yields remain low. Japan’s equities led gains at the start on Friday with little obvious trigger, and China’s domestic shares also jumped before paring gains in the afternoon. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced tax cuts that reinforce expectations for an eventual pick-up China’s economy.
Watch technology stocks following reassuring results from Broadcom, which may prop up the chip sub-sector. Watch European chipmakers like Infineon, STMicroelectronics and AMS for read-across from the numbers, plus any impact on chip equipment names like ASML and BE Semiconductor. Separately, software firms Oracle and Adobe disappointed investors, so keep an eye on the likes of SAP, Micro Focus, Dassault Systemes and Nemetschek.
How are consumer habits changing?
Recent studies reveal that consumer spending habits - particularly within the millennial population – are moving away from owning things and more towards paying for services and experiences. But how far does this trend reach past the millennial generation?