July was a quiet month for economic data, with the main focus being this summer’s blockbuster, Trade Wars, starring the US versus the rest of the World.
Tensions have risen between the US and most of its trade partners. Although remaining high, business confidence has edged lower.
July saw little improvement in US-China relations, but rather than return jobs to the US, this standoff might simply see production move to other emerging markets. On a more positive note, Eurozone stock markets rose on the news that the US and EU have agreed to work towards a zero-tariff deal, which should help to lift trade between them.
Although global politics may be the grey cloud in an otherwise flawless summer sky, it hasn’t removed the shine from global stock markets this month.
The FTSE100 rose 1.5% in July, helped by the pharmaceutical sector. The sector was boosted by the Anglo-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca, whose shares rose 11.65% during July after they announced new drugs to treat cancer, heart disease and multiple sclerosis.
In the US, quarterly earnings were strong, which lifted large company stocks, +3.6%. This was also helped by consumer shopping habits, with retail sales +6.6% year on year - the best growth since 2012.
Emerging Markets, Japan and Europe also saw a positive performance for their respective leading stock indices.
Concerns around a no-deal Brexit saw the Pound drop 0.7% against the Euro and decline 0.6% against the US Dollar but there was a rise against the Japanese Yen of 0.4%
Investment type performance breakdown
While most investment types fell, the rise in equities offset the negative impact in most plans: commodities -1.00%; private equity +4.95%; bond investments -0.15%; property -0.56%; and shares +2.44%.
Summary with Plan details
Most investment plans generated positive returns in July, particularly plans holding a greater allocation of global equities. Our investment team remain focused on your investment plans and are ready to act as opportunities arise.
Figures shown are based on a medium-risk (Confident) investment Plan.
Your investments can go down as well as up and you could get back less than you put in.