Markets enjoyed a positive August, recovering from the mid-month jitters to perform strongly and build on the returns already made so far this year. Performance of some of the main indices are highlighted below:
(All figures are based on bid to bid pricing with income reinvested, in Sterling terms)
In what is normally a quiet month for news flow, there were multiple events that occupied investors’ minds.
After some twenty years, the planned withdrawal of American troops in Afghanistan saw the Taliban regain control of the country much quicker than had been anticipated, as forces loyal to the government capitulated and the President fled to Doha. The implications as yet are unknown, both for the region and wider world, with the immediate concern focused on the humanitarian fallout.
Also pertinent to US, last month saw an increase in cases of the Delta variant and fresh concerns about the pace of re-opening and economic growth in the world’s largest economy. High profile events such as the Jackson Hole summit moved online in a bid to curb transmission with the pace of vaccine rollout slowing significantly.
As the graph above highlights, the biggest stumble came in China where President Xi announced an increase in the regulation of Tech and Online Education sectors in the Communist Party’s latest crackdown. This builds on the high profile move they made in late 2020 against Alibaba and appears to be an increasing theme as the country balances the old world versus the new.
Despite all of the noise, markets-maintained their composure and moved higher supported by a solid corporate earnings season (further information will be provided on this shortly). Over the month our portfolios outperformed their benchmark, which is a trend that continues throughout the year to date.
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