Quarterly markets review - Q1 2014
An overview of markets in Q1 2014
- Global equities eked out narrow gains in the first quarter. Worries over the impact of the Federal Reserve’s tapering of quantitative easing saw equities start the year on a weak footing. Stockmarkets recovered as the quarter progressed but gains were held back by the crisis in Ukraine.
- In the US, the S&P 500 hit a series of record closing highs. The Fed revamped its forward guidance, dropping the 6.5% unemployment target and announcing it would focus on a range of indicators instead. US macroeconomic data was mixed, though weakness was largely attributed to severe winter weather.
- Eurozone equities were supported by encouraging macroeconomic data. Inflation data continued to be below target but the European Central Bank kept monetary policy unchanged. A change of government in Italy was greeted favourably by the market. UK shares fell as earnings were generally disappointing.
- Emerging markets underperformed developed market peers. Weaker macroeconomic data from China and the political tensions between Ukraine and Russia weighed on emerging markets, adding to ongoing concerns over the impact of reduced global liquidity.