As of the end of the month, the UK world index had increased 4.09% in sterling terms. In local currency the S&P and Nasdaq rose 6.78% and 6.79%, the UK advanced 1.78%, Germany, France, Italy and Spain increased 4.95%, 0.92%, 3.21% and 4.56% respectively. In Japan, the Nikkei rose 5.35% with a notable affect across Asia with a 11.24% rise. The Chinese market recovered considerably with a 11.75% increase. Oil and commodities posted positive returns over the month, 10.09% and 3.82% respectively, UK corporates posted reasonable gains whilst UK Gilts fell slightly.
In our latest asset allocation meeting we have decided to gradually increase our position in gold whilst also reintroducing some exposure to Emerging Markets which performed the best over the month with a 13.42% return.
We saw the VIX (Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index) continue its downward momentum alongside the rise in equity markets. Over the month, from a starting point of 20.55, the month closed at 13.95 indicating improved investor sentiment.
Figure 1: “VIX Index” – 1 March 2016 to 31 March 2016