May 2024 MPS Market Review

May 2024 MPS Market Review – Data to 31/05/2024

Market review - May 2024
  • Following a difficult April, stock markets enjoyed a recovery in May, delivering firmly positive performance across most developed markets, though Japan and Emerging Market indices struggled.
  • After a blistering first quarter in stock markets, volatility has increased of late, as impressive growth threatened a return of inflation, delaying expectations for interest rate cuts. Never-the-less, year to date performance remains in eye-catching territory.
  •  No doubt the most ‘eye-catching’ events through May, however, came from beyond capital markets, as the political news flow proved worthy of a Netflix drama.
  •  From a global perspective, news of Donald Trump’s ‘guilt’ in his ‘hush money’ trial, will have garnered the most attention. Yet, despite the gravity of the headlines, markets remained unfazed, recognising (perhaps remarkably) events aren’t impeding Trump’s ability to run for President nor damaging his chances of winning!
  • In a similar vein, the surprising and dramatic announcement of a domestic, summertime General Election is also having little impact on markets.
  • Whilst a deeply personal event for many of us, investors are alert to the size of polling leads which, despite historic inaccuracies, are pointing decisively toward a change in government.
  • With only the size of a majority being (keenly) debated, investors are taking comfort from a Labour campaign that offers a steady hand on the economy; reaffirming both their ‘business friendly’ credentials and their respect for public finances.
  • Of course, it seems clear any new Labour government would harbour fairly radical ambitions, wishing to employ far greater state involvement and spending, however, there is constant reassurance of caution in the way such policies may progress; keeping market practitioners in a benign mood.
  • Pivoting to stock market fundamentals and after a succession of US CPI upside surprises, markets enjoyed considerable relief from a (very) marginal downside miss; arresting concerns of a return to interest rate hikes – at least temporarily.
  • Indeed, an interest rate hike does not form part of our base case, with pandemic savings now likely dwindling, and leading US jobs market data, such as a weakening hiring rates and falling quits rates, pointing to a further slowing in wage gains.
  • Absent accelerating wage inflation, it is less probable for an inflationary spiral to take hold and for interest rate hikes to be required.
  • it is hard to take such a benign view in the UK given stickier wage inflation, however, a generally weaker economic growth environment creates a high bar for a resumption of interest rate hikes.
  • The core view, therefore, is the disinflationary trends in the US can persist and, in so doing, reinstate a (modestly) dovish path for policy, and encourage investors to offer further support to capital markets.
  • The combination of lower inflation, more accommodative policy and resilient growth has been described as a 'Goldilocks' scenario. This analogy refers to an economy which is neither too hot (where inflation and monetary policy are on the rise - setting the economy up for a fall) or too cold (in recession).
  • A 'Goldilocks' outcome has often been a favourable backdrop for equities as it points to more durable economic strength. This relationship may not unfold this time; however, it is a driving force behind a positive equity bias.
  • Markets also enjoyed tailwinds from some sensational earnings performance in May, particularly from companies operating within the dominant, loosely defined ‘AI theme’.
  • This performance, once again, highlights the market’s inability to appreciate how quickly such innovative companies can grow their revenues, showcasing the dangers of relying too heavily upon shorter-term valuation metrics.
  • Life is not all about the US, however. Given the geopolitical troubles which prevail, the relative hedge UK markets provide against a surging oil price provides helpful portfolio diversification, though this is not the sole reason for an increased allocation.
  • UK equity market valuation remains highly compelling versus global competitors, which is further bolstered by the strength of collective balance sheets, high level of dividend yield and, increasingly, higher volume of company buybacks.
  • Prospects for better economic performance (versus some very downbeat expectations) look enticing too, as real incomes creep higher as resilient wages overcome persistent, but fading inflationary prints. 
  • For more insight on UK Equities please listen to the latest Invesco Time in the Market Podcast featuring Janus Henderson Absolute Return Fund Manager – Luke Newman.
  • Emerging Market equities struggled in May. As discussed in prior months, sentiment toward the asset class will likely prove choppy, as levels of Chinese stimulus falls shy of what markets are hoping for, particularly given the scale of its housing market travails.
  • Given how downbeat sentiment is toward the region, however, it may only take an amelioration in the economic backdrop to reignite investor interest.
  • We should also note the success of the Emerging Market asset class does not exclusively rest upon the fortunes for Chinese stocks, with nations such as India and Mexico playing an increasingly important role.
  • Reflecting upon bond markets and, as we have articulated, a resumption of disinflationary trends, catalysed by weakening (though not collapsing) labour markets, should offer a return to form for the asset class.
  • Indeed, investors should be mindful the disinflationary forces may yet gather pace as the ‘long and variable lags’ of interest rate policy further impact the economy.
  • Whilst certain mortgage deals may allow segments of the economy to avoid the full force of interest rate hikes, not every consumer will be in such a fortuitous position.
  • What is more, many channels of financing, such as credit cards, overdrafts and corporate lending will be much more sensitive to interest rate changes and will continue to bite into the economy as we move through the year.
  • Investors should brace themselves for a more volatile period ahead, therefore, as markets fret between extremes of soft-landing euphoria, inflation resurgence and recession.
  • Recognising how uncertain the outlook remains, as well as our philosophical belief in the need for humility when investing, MPS portfolios strive to seek appropriate levels of diversification to meet the investment challenges ahead.
  • Relative to stocks for example, high quality corporate and government bonds might offer a more defensive return profile in the face of less encouraging growth outcomes, particularly given the increase in yields observed over recent months.
  • Alternative asset classes also assist Invesco in its efforts to help diversify portfolios in a more troubling period for stock markets.
  • Stay safe, stay well, and please get in touch if you wish to discuss any part of the Invesco MPS strategy further.

Asset class returns (%)

  1M 3M 6M YTD 1Y 2Y 3Y 4Y 5Y
UK 2.37% 9.88% 13.54% 8.64% 15.28% 15.59% 25.09% 54.00% 36.87%
US 3.12% 3.00% 15.33% 11.59% 24.72% 30.74% 46.62% 78.46% 106.43%
Europe 3.58% 5.41% 13.19% 9.02% 18.05% 28.38% 23.13% 55.12% 58.85%
Japan -0.52% -0.98% 10.45% 6.37% 15.18% 23.56% 20.63% 29.43% 41.72%
Asia ex Japan -0.20% 4.58% 8.17% 5.64% 8.59% 2.04% -9.72% 18.93% 22.28%
Emerging Markets -1.17% 2.67% 6.65% 3.77% 9.72% 2.70% -7.04% 22.09% 20.10%
UK Government Bond 0.82% -0.42% 1.52% -3.69% 3.04% -13.10% -22.98% -28.70% -20.15%
UK Investment Grade Bonds 0.88% 0.62% 3.52% -1.19% 8.36% -1.08% -12.06% -9.55% -3.24%
Global High Yield Bonds (GBP) 0.95% 1.33% 4.85% 1.68% 10.22% 10.55% 4.87% 17.84% 16.87%

Standardised rolling 12-month performance (%)

  May 2022
May 2023
May 2021

May 2022
May 2020

May 2021
May 2019

May 2020
May 2018

May 2019
UK 15.28% 0.27% 8.22% 23.11% -11.12%
US 24.72% 4.83% 12.14% 21.72% 15.67%
Europe 18.05% 8.76% -4.09% 25.98% 2.40%
Japan 15.18% 7.27% -2.37% 7.29% 9.49%
Asia ex Japan 8.59% -6.03% -11.53% 31.74% 2.82%
Emerging Markets 9.72% -6.39% -9.49% 31.33% -1.63%
UK Government Bond 3.04% -15.67% -11.36% -7.43% 11.98%
UK Investment Grade Bonds 8.36% -8.71% -11.10% 2.85% 6.97%
Global High Yield Bonds (GBP) 10.22% 0.30% -5.14% 12.37% -0.82%

Past performance is not a guide to future returns.

Source: Bloomberg, as at, 31st May 2024. All returns sterling based. UK = FTSE All Share, US = S&P 500, Europe = FTSE World Europe ex UK, Japan = Topix, Asia = MSCI Asia Pacific ex Japan, EM = MSCI Emerging Markets, Gilts = FTSE Actuaries Govt All Stocks, UK IG = IBOXX Markit GBP Liquid Corporate Large Cap, Global High Yield Bonds = IBOXX Global Developed Liquid High Yield (GBP Hedged).

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  • Views and opinions are based on current market conditions and are subject to change. This is marketing material and not financial advice. It is not intended as a recommendation to buy or sell any particular asset class, security or strategy. Regulatory requirements that require impartiality of investment/investment strategy recommendations are therefore not applicable nor are any prohibitions to trade before publication.