In focus

Schroders Equity Lens: your go-to guide to global equity markets

What’s been driving stock prices? Are they currently expensive or cheap? And which regions and sectors are poised to do well next? 

These are some of the questions we aim to regularly answer in our quarterly publication – the Schroders Equity Lens, a compilation of key trends in global equities illustrated through thought-provoking charts. Click here to download your Q2 copy.  


  • Global equities continued their positive momentum in March, but returns varied greatly across regions and sectors.
  • In local currency terms, performance was led by European equities (+6.8%) and Japanese equities (+5.0%), but much of these gains were eroded for US dollar investors due to a strengthening dollar.
  • Markets seem to have downplayed new waves of Covid-19 in Europe and the resulting economic restrictions, as eurozone manufacturing PMI data grew at its fastest pace on record since 2006.
  • Meanwhile, a major correction in Chinese equities (38% of the MSCI Emerging Market Index) resulted in EM equities falling by 1.5%, as lofty valuations and rising global bond yields weighed on market sentiment.
  • Such EM index concentration highlights the opportunities and risks facing EM investors. For example, 14 out of the 27 countries in the EM universe have outperformed the MSCI EM Index in the last six months, up from only 9 countries in February.
  • In US dollar terms, the UK is currently one of the best performing equity markets this year (+6.2% YTD), supported by a strong vaccine roll-out and bullish earnings forecasts.
  • Among sectors, performance was mixed as a handful of cyclical and defensive industries posted strong returns. Utilities (+7.5%), consumer staples (+6.1%) and industrials (+5.8%) outperformed the global index, while IT (+0.4%), communication services (+0.3%) and consumer discretionary (+1.4%) underperformed.
  • Global value stocks posted their best return against growth stocks since 2001, outperforming by 4.9% in March. The prevailing market narrative is that higher bond yields are driving the rotation because they tend to harm long-duration growth stocks more.
  • However, our analysis finds that this recent strong positive correlation is an outlier compared to long-term history and may not persist beyond the economic recovery. Neither value nor growth indices hold a constant set of securities over time and this turnover means that their overall relationship with interest rates varies.

Read the full report

Schroders Equity Lens - April 2021 46 pages | 1,151 kb