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Market Report - January 2017

Market Report

January saw a quiet start to the year with US equity markets continuing their climb for a third straight month as the Trump administration began to put its plans into action.  The S&P 500 index added 1.79% while the Nasdaq Composite gained 4.30% to a record high.  The Dow Jones index advanced 0.51% and the small-mid cap Russell 2000 index added a modest 0.35%.  

In Europe, we saw more varied price action as most equity markets posted negative returns following a strong end to 2016.  The Eurostoxx 50 fell by 1.82%, while the CAC 40 declined 2.33%, the DAX gained a modest 0.47%.  In the UK, the FTSE 100 saw a loss of 0.61% on the month as continued Brexit uncertainty affected business confidence. 

Asian equities started the year on a high following positive market news from China.  The Shanghai Composite added 1.79%, while the Hang Seng index gained a strong 6.18%.  In Japan, the Nikkei fell by 0.38%. 
In commodities, the energy sector declined in January following its strong performance in recent months.  WTI dropped by 1.69%, while Brent declined 1.97%, and natural gas also fell by 16.30%.  Metals had a stronger run in January with gold up 5.07% and copper gaining 8.23%.  The S&P GSCI index saw a decrease of 1.41%.

US Treasuries remained relatively unchanged while a further increase in Eurozone inflation caused many European government bond yields to increase. In the US, the shorter dated six month yields declined a modest 3bps while two year yields gained 1bp and five year yields declined 2bps.  The longer dated 10 year yield added a modest 1bp, while 30 year yields were 1bp lower at 3.06%.

German 10 year bond yields more than doubled from 0.21% to 0.44%, while French 10 year bond yields gained 39bps from 0.69% to 1.04%.  This increased volatility was due to uncertainty over the impending French elections.  Spanish and Italian 10 year bond yields also increased on the month, by 22bps and 44bps to end the month at 1.60% and 2.26%, respectively.