Another generally positive week for stock markets globally, once again driven by positive investor sentiment. Asia lagged once more with mixed economic data and lacklustre investor sentiment. In the UK, positive economic data for February was released as England continues on its lockdown exit strategy.
US: Fourth consecutive week of gains for stock markets
In the US, the S&P 500 returned 1.4%. Most of the major benchmarks recorded their fourth consecutive week of gains, moving to record highs. Vaccine news appeared to drive sentiment last week and economic signals were positive.
Asia: Mixed week for stock markets and economic data
Japanese stock markets were mixed during the week and the yen strengthened against the US dollar. In China, the CSI 300 and the Shanghai Composite broad market index were down 1.4% and 0.7% respectively amidst mixed economic data.
Europe: Markets continue upward trajectory on hopes of recovery
In Europe, the Euro Stoxx 50 rose 1.4%, posting a seventh consecutive week of gains on hopes of a strong recovery in the global economy and corporate earnings, despite a resurgence in infections.
UK: Markets up as England begins reopening of shops
The FTSE 100 was up 1.6% and the domestically focused FTSE 250 returned 1.3%. The Pound ended the week at 1.38 USD per GBP. England started reopening shops as data shows the UK economy grew 0.4% in February.
The Week Ahead
• In the UK, retail sales and unemployment data released
• In Europe, the European Central Bank meet and economic data released
• In the US, all eyes will be on the progress of President Biden’s infrastructure plan