It was all about the United States last month as far as equity markets were concerned. S&P’s world equity index may have ended the month with a small gain of just 0.3 percent but that was down to a 3 percent rise on U.S. markets, data from the index provider shows. Strip out the U.S. contribution and it would have been a pretty poor month for world equities. Beyond Wall St, there was a decline of 1.7 percent and $285 billion lost in market value. Instead, the $418 billion added to U.S. market capitalization dragged the global aggregate up by $132 billion.
Behind the robust U.S. equity performance was a steady flow of strong economic data which also pushed up U.S. 10-year yields 20 bps last month. S&P index analyst Howard Silverblatt writes:
The overall rationale for the U.S. outperformance is the perception that several parts of the world have re-entered a recession, while the U.S. continues to show a slow, but steady recovery.
The U.S. picture contrasted with China’s dimmer growth outlook with Shanghai’s market down fell 6.5 percent in March. That was the main reason for big emerging markets losses of a 3.7 percent last month. In the developed world Britain fell 1.2 percent but German stocks rose 0.8 percent (see chart below for details).
World stocks have had a great first quarter however, posting gains of 11.8 percent, the best start to a year since 1999. In terms of value, they gained $3.78 trillion, more than recouping last year’s $2.96 trillion loss.