All major stock market indices rose in April; the FTSE 100 index rose by 6.8% whilst the FTSE World index was up by 2.9% .
The FTSE 100 index ended April at 7,509, back within 5% of its all-time high. This strong performance helped offset most of the fall during the first quarter of 2018 but the UK stockmarket remains down by around 1% since the start of the year even after dividend income is taken into account.
The majority of global equity indices performed strongly in April. The FTSE World index gained around 3% in the month although total returns are negative since the start of the year and flat over the last 6 months. The US Dollar strengthened against Sterling over the month and a 0.4% increase in the S&P500 (in US$) translated to a gain of over 2.2% in Sterling terms. Gains in the FTSE World Europe ex UK index, Asia Pacific ex Japan, and the FTSE Japan index were up by around 3% in April whilst the more volatile FTSE Emerging Markets index gained around 1%. All of these global indices are showing a loss of between 0.1% and 2.3% since the start of the year.
Few sectors were able to generate a positive return in the first four months of 2018. In the FTSE World index, oil & gas and technology sectors rose, but consumer goods companies fell by 5% and tobacco stocks lost over 20%.