Monthly markets review - January 2015
A look back at markets in January 2015, which saw the arrival of eurozone quantitative easing and a disappointing earnings season in the US.
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- Global equities as measured by the MSCI World index registered negative returns in January in dollar terms, largely due to weaker performance from US equities. Commodity prices continued to fall with Brent crude oil dropping below $50/barrel.
- US equities posted negative returns amid a downbeat fourth quarter earnings season, with many companies citing concerns over the impact of the strong dollar.
- Eurozone and UK equities were supported by the European Central Bank’s (ECB) announcement of a programme to purchase sovereign bonds which exceeded market expectations. Eurozone equities, in particular, gained strongly. Swiss shares experienced turbulence as the central bank dropped the franc’s peg to the euro.
- Japanese equities posted a small positive return. Employment figures showed improvement but inflation data was below expectations, largely due to the lower oil price.
- Emerging markets made modest dollar-denominated gains. India was the best performing market as the central bank made a surprise rate cut. China posted positive returns. Fourth quarter GDP was slightly stronger than forecast at 7.3%.