Equities in the U.S., Canada, and globally began the quarter on a positive note but faded in August and September, resulting in negative returns. However, year-to-date, equity markets remain in positive territory. Bond markets saw U.S. and Canadian yields rise due to credit rating downgrades and inflation concerns. Both presenting cheap buying opportunities for the long-term investor.
Q2 was another strong quarter for investors with positive equity market returns and stable bond yields. The U.S., Canadian, and global equities closed the quarter and first half of 2023 positively, with technology being the leading sector.
Investors experienced a turbulent ride in 2022. Inflation, central bank rate hikes, oil prices, supply chain disruptions and the Russia-Ukraine conflict cast a long shadow on markets, causing extreme volatility and dominating financial headlines 24/7.
Despite a bright start to Q3, U.S., Canadian and global equities gradually lost momentum as the Fed reiterated it would continue its monetary tightening path. In bond markets, U.S. and Canadian yields rose on the outlook for interest rates, inflation and the pound falling to a record low after the U.K. government announced huge tax cuts funded by increased borrowing which were subsequently rejected by the market and reversed.
It was an eventful quarter. Lingering inflation, tightening central bank policy, high oil prices and geopolitical tensions were top of mind for investors. U.S., Canadian and global equities swung back and forth on market volatility, one moment bullishly coping and the next turning bearish, before ending Q2 in the doldrums.
U.S, Canadian and global equity markets started Q3 where Q2 ended, confidently charting a course forward. By the end of August, equities had notched a seventh straight month of gains, with the S&P 500 Index finishing near its all-time high and the TSX Composite Index on its longest winning streak in four years.
Despite a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and renewed lockdowns in many regions, markets trended upward during the fourth quarter of 2020, boosted by growing clarity around the outcome of the U.S. presidential election and significant COVID-19 vaccine progress.
Recovering from the pandemic-related downdraft of the first quarter, financial markets enjoyed a period of relative calm and optimism through of the summer of 2020. Equity prices in many markets continued to improve, with some sectors moving sharply higher as lockdown restrictions eased and economic activity gradually resumed...
While the first quarter of 2020 was dominated by anxiety surrounding the initial outbreak of COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdowns and capital market declines, the second quarter demonstrated a remarkable bounce back in those markets – even with a resurgence of the virus in the U.S. and renewed lockdown measures.
Cy Korun discusses the current market and economic environment as we see it and provides some sound food for thought during these volatile times.