Markets in a nutshell — July 2021
Global equities rose for the sixth consecutive month and key developed market bourses again scaled new highs, buoyed by earnings surprises and lower bond yields even as the COVID-19 Delta variant spread around the globe. Defensive sectors outperformed, with healthcare, information technology and utilities offsetting declines in the energy and consumer discretionary sectors.
US equities outperformed, driven by demonstrable bipartisan progress on the proposed $550 billion infrastructure spending bill and corporate earnings results exceeding consensus expectations by significant margins. Eurozone stocks were supported by improved manufacturing activity.
Emerging markets were materially lower when Chinese stocks recorded double-digit declines after regulatory intervention in the internet and education sectors. The belated Chinese regulatory interventions aiming to ban for-profit private education firms and regulate ride-hailing company Didi triggered market worry that crackdowns could hurt other successful tech industries.
Foord Global Equity Fund performance was hurt by consequent double-digit price falls in Tencent, Alibaba and JD.com. In our view, company valuations appear increasingly attractive given long-term structural growth opportunities, with regulation likely to drive improved focus on delivering solutions that benefit all stakeholders.
Developed market bond yields declined on the sustained global policy commitment to ultra-low rates despite robust growth and rising inflation, especially in the US. Strong consumption demand amid depressed supply conditions could stoke inflation above the comfort levels of central bankers notwithstanding the withdrawal of fiscal support in the coming quarters. The US dollar was flat against the euro, taking a breather after appreciating strongly in June. Gold gained while industrial metals were mixed, with copper rising and iron ore retracing.
US communication services company Alphabet and precious metals counters ETFS Physical Gold and Wheaton Precious Metals contributed most to the performance of the Foord global funds. Chinese consumer stocks including Wynn Macau and Alibaba and the US S&P 500 hedges were the key detractors in the month.
The managers are actively managing the risk of loss as global markets stand at record highs.