Market Update – 1st July 2020.

June closed with plenty of razzle-dazzle thanks to the biggest increase in US consumer confidence since November 2011.

The US Conference Board Consumer Confidence index jumped 12.2 points to 98.1 as optimism increased after the US economy started reopening following the lockdowns.

Furthermore, the sub-index showing consumer expectations for the outlook on income, business and employment conditions, rose 8.4 points to a four-month high of 106, while attitudes on the current situation gained 17.8 points to 86.2.

Consequently, the Dow Jones closed up nearly 220 points or 0.85%, while the broader S&P 500 index rose 1.54%.

Unfortunately, July has started like a damp squib as tension between the US and China continued to escalate, after the US designated two Chinese telecom companies (Huawei and ZTE) as national security threats, coupled with a growing acceptance that until a vaccine is found, economic growth may be prone to setbacks as localised lockdowns are imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Additionally, data this morning from the Nationwide Building Society indicated that UK house prices fell a further 1.4% in June, after falling 1.7% in May.  Although two months of negative data (both of which were during the lockdown) is not a trend, given the importance of housing on our personal wealth and confidence, it may prompt the BoE into providing more stimulus.

Consequently, as we write, the FTSE-100 is down around 50 points, or 0.80% at 6,120.

While we appreciate that this yo-yoing equity market movement is extremely frustrating, as we have previously warned, taking two steps forward and one step back is, unfortunately, something that we will all have to learn to live with over the coming weeks and months.

However, it is important to remember that while horrible, this is only a transient issue and as we have previously said, there are lots of companies around the world working on a coronavirus vaccine and given the number of shots being taken at the goal, the chances of a breakthrough is probably not too far away – and of course, a vaccine will allow economies to fully reopen and thus speed up the economic recovery.

Tonight at 7pm UK time, we will get the minutes from the Fed’s last monetary policy meeting (held on 10 June 2020) – and we will be looking with interest at policymakers comments for clues on the potential for additional stimulus.

Investment Management Team