UK and European share indices were down in November but in the US, Japan, and Asia Pacific region there was a slight recovery and some positive returns. Despite this all major equity indices are down over 3 months.
The FTSE100 fell 1.6% over the month with the benchmark UK index finishing at 6,980, around 900 points below its all-time high from May, pushing the total loss in the year to date to 5.4%. Volatility remains high in the lead up to the UK leaving the European Union.
The S&P 500 index rose by 2.1% in November and since the start of the year has delivered a return of 10.8% to a Sterling investor, with currency movements amplifying the return from the Dollar denominated US index which rose 4.5% in Dollar terms. This is the only major regional index to have generated a positive return this year. The MSCI World index, which has a weighting of around 63% to the US, is up slightly in local currency terms year to date, but this translates into a positive total return of 4.8% for UK investors.
Outside of the US markets have struggled to make headway this year but the MSCI Emerging Markets and Asia Pacific ex Japan indices gained over 4% in November with the MSCI Japan posting a modest gain of 0.5%. The MSCI Europe ex UK fell by 0.5% in the month. All four of these indices are negative year to date with losses of between 5.7% and 8.5% in local terms, but sterling weakness has reduced losses to between 1% and 7% for UK investors.
The yield on the 10 year US Treasury index fell back to 3.0% in November, and the benchmark 10-year UK Gilt yield remained broadly flat just below 1.4% having started the month slightly above this level. The FTSE Actuaries UK Conventional Gilts All Stocks index has made a small loss for the year to date of 1.6%. Japanese and Swiss 10 year government debt yields remain close to zero and German 10 year bonds yield around 0.3%.
The Brent Crude spot price is broadly the same as it was a year ago in US dollar terms but has seen extraordinary volatility over that period. Prices fell by over 20% in November alone and the price has now fallen by 1/3 from $86.74 in early October to $57.50 in late November. Gold prices increased by 0.8%, paring back year to date losses to 1.6%