July 2020 saw diverse performance across stock markets and mixed economic reports.
Market concern has risen due to the continuing decline in US-China relations, but investors are balancing this against the high likelihood of further monetary and fiscal policy support from central banks and governments as the global impact of Covid-19 continues. In July, a further €750 billion recovery package was agreed by European Union leaders. Additional US fiscal stimulus also appears likely, although a political agreement is yet to be reached. July was the last month before the UK furlough scheme required employers to contribute, this change will be closely watched for any impact on the labour market.
Much of the attention this month was on Q2 GDP data which provided a snapshot of economic performance. Again, the results were a mixed bag, with the US shrinking by 9.5%, and the Eurozone also dropped 12.1%. But, since China experienced the impact of Covid-19 first with a lower level of infection, they’ve been able to buck the trend and their GDP expanded 2.8% during Q2. Focus will now be on the rate of the recovery elsewhere, with initial indicators suggesting that while the corner has been turned the recovery is unlikely to be smooth. That said, recent manufacturing and services survey data points to a continued recovery, reinforced by the bounce back in Industrial Production data in Germany, UK, US, and Japan.
However, there has been a dampening of consumer confidence in both the US and Eurozone, with data released in July showing a dip. UK consumer sentiment rose, albeit from a comparatively lower level. Consumer spending data released in July showed a continued rise in both the US and UK, but in Germany, despite an earlier strong uplift, this didn’t follow through to data released last month.
The key factor for markets and economic outlook is still the growth rate of Covid-19 cases. While the UK and Eurozone had seen a flattening of the curve in contrast to the US’s continued rise, July saw an increase in Eurozone cases as lockdown measures were eased. The rate of economic recovery will be determined by the strength and regional differences within the forthcoming waves of Covid-19.
In July, global stock market performance was very mixed. Emerging Market stocks (+9.01%) and Asia Pacific excluding Japan (+7.95%) both gained strongly, with the US also improving (+5.64%). However, Europe (-1.53%), Japan (-2.59%), and the UK’s FTSE-100 (-4.20%) all fell.
July saw the British pound rise against the three major currencies, gaining against the euro (+0.64%), the Japanese yen (+3.35%), and the US dollar (+5.23%). This gain weighed on some asset price performance, although not all, as Wealthify plans are partially hedged meaning the negative impact is lessened.
Investment type performance breakdown
As economic data was less conclusive, optimism has waned somewhat. For our investment types it meant that only bonds rose (+0.37%), while property (-3.07%) and shares (-0.86%) both declined.
Summary with Plan details
The performance of Wealthify Plans in July was mixed. Plans that hold more bonds delivered positive returns, while Plans holding a higher proportion of shares dipped, reflecting the decline in market confidence.
Our Investment Team continue to actively monitor the financial markets and their impact on your Plan, and as always, we are ready to act in your best interests to events as they unfold.
The figures shown are based on a medium-risk (Confident) investment Plan.
Please remember the value of your investments can go down as well as up, and you could get back less than invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.