As you were: markets’ restless quarter
 
Had an investing Rip Van Winkle fallen asleep for the past three months, he might assume, on waking, that he hadn’t missed much. The S&P 500 and global stockmarkets are around where they were at the end of 2015; ditto commodity prices. Rip might be surprised to find that two consensus bets at the start of the year—that the dollar and the Treasury-bond yield would rise—turned out to be wrong.

Because of sluggish growth in America (the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model is predicting annualised first-quarter growth of just 0.6%) and worldwide, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise rates just twice this year. Markets played their part in the Fed’s policy shift; their wobbles in January and February reflected growth concerns. Better news from emerging economies and the stabilisation of commodity prices steadied them in March.

But these are uneasy days. It’s no time to doze.

 

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