Market review

Quarter one in review

The first quarter of 2024 was marked by continued strength for risk assets, with a number of major equity indices extending record highs. Economic data kept surprising on the upside, which lifted hopes that a recession could be avoided. Sharp upward moves in US yields weighed on global fixed income markets.

Apr 8, 2024

8 minutes


Global equities
South Africa
Emerging markets
Europe and UK
Global fixed income
Global credit
EM fixed income

Global equities

Shipping containers
Strong economic data and optimism around AI drove markets higher. Japan surged.

Global equities had another strong quarter, with several markets reaching all-time highs. That was driven by growing hopes for a soft economic landing, or even a ‘no landing’, along with ongoing optimism around AI. The S&P 500 posted consecutive double-digit gains for the first time in over a decade, while in Japan, the Nikkei saw its strongest performance since the global financial crisis, propelling it above its previous record high from 1989.

Economic data was broadly positive, which saw expectations of a recession in the US fall. However, inflation was slightly higher than expected in both January and February, which prompted the Federal Reserve to caution against cutting rates. As it stands, the market is currently pricing in three 25 basis point cuts in 2024, down from six at the turn of the year.

At the sector level, IT and communication services led the way, with energy and financials not far behind. Sectors hampered by the prospects of rates being higher for longer – namely real estate and utilities – were notable laggards.

Indices (total return in local currency)
S&P 500 10.4%
Nasdaq Composite 9.3%
Nikkei 225 21.4%
EuroStoxx 600 7.0%
FTSE 100 4.0%
Hang Seng Index -2.5%
SSE Composite 2.2%

Source: Bloomberg, for the quarter ending 31 March 2024.

Important Information

This communication is provided for general information only should not be construed as advice.

All the information in is believed to be reliable but may be inaccurate or incomplete. The views are those of the contributor at the time of publication and do not necessary reflect those of Ninety One.

Any opinions stated are honestly held but are not guaranteed and should not be relied upon.

All rights reserved. Issued by Ninety One.