Market Update – 12th May 2020.

Global equity markets ended yesterday (11 May 2020) virtually flat, with the FTSE-100 up just 3.75 points or 0.063%, while the S&P 500 was up 0.52 points or just 0.018%.

Although today the FTSE-100 has opened up around 20 points (about 0.35%), there has been little in the way of data or statements so far this week to help equity markets. As such, markets have been left to weigh up the plans to ease lockdown restrictions and reopen the global economy against concerns that this easing could lead to a fresh wave of coronavirus infections and renewed lockdowns – South Korea provided a potential sign of things to come after they had their biggest one-day increase in new infections in a month.

As we have previously said, because equity markets hate uncertainty, they are currently trading on every news headline – and over the coming weeks and months we will probably have to live with taking two steps forward and one step back, which unfortunately means that equity market volatility will remain elevated.

Away from equity markets, the potential for a lower oil price appears to be over after Saudi Arabia made a surprise announcement that it was reducing output by an extra 1m barrels per day from June – which should speed up the supply/demand rebalance, as demand is also likely to start improving as the lockdowns ease.

Later today we will get US CPI inflation data – and it’s likely to reflect the deflationary pressures from the recent falls in commodity prices (predominately oil) and the strength of the US dollar.

Investment Management Team