December 2017 Performance
Global equity markets reached record highs in 2017. Driven by solid economic growth, higher international trade flows and moderate inflation, the “Goldilocks” economy continued to reward risk assets. US equity indices such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ 100 and S&P 500 all reached successive record highs. For the first time in history, the S&P 500 posted positive gains for each month of the 2017 calendar year. December proved no exception, with most major indices higher including the MSCI World up 1.26% and 20.11% YTD. December’s star performer was the FTSE 100, which rose 4.93%, as Brexit concerns appeared to ease and commodity price gains lifted natural resource based companies.
Despite three interest rate rises in the US, one in the UK and accelerating inflation, global bond markets continued to perform well throughout 2017. The Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate bond index (USD unhedged) rose 0.35% in December and more than 7% YTD, its best annual return in 10 years. Government bond yield curves continued to flatten. In the US, the 2 year Treasury yield rose 10bps in December to 1.89%, up 69bps YTD. Meanwhile, the 30 year Treasury yield fell -9bps, down -31bps YTD. The UK Gilt curve also flattened and valuations remain supported by limited supply into year end.
In foreign exchange markets, the US Dollar Index fell approximately -1% and was down almost -10% YTD, making the US Dollar the worst performing G10 currency of 2017. In contrast, the Euro rose to $1.20, up 0.79% MTD and 14.11% YTD. Sterling also did well having risen 9.53% this year to $1.35, although it was broadly flat in December. In Commodity markets, Gold rose 2.20% to $1,302.45 per ounce, up 13.11% YTD, and WTI Oil rose 5.26% to $60.42 a barrel, up 12.47% YTD.
The portfolios have performed very well over the past year and our short-term market view is ‘more of the same’. But the good times can’t last forever. Geopolitical risks remain high, interest rates are set to rise and the withdrawal of central bank liquidity may have unintended consequences. With volatility set to increase over the medium-term, portfolio diversification across global markets will be vital, especially on a currency hedged basis.
Happy New Year and best wishes for a successful 2018!
ACUMEN Bond Portfolio
The ACUMEN Bond Portfolio (GBP) returned 0.22% in December. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA’s Global Bond sector returned 0.09% and 0.28% respectively.
ACUMEN Conservative Portfolio
The ACUMEN Conservative Portfolio (GBP) returned 0.56% in December. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares sector returned 0.43% and 1.04% respectively. The portfolio has a rolling 1-year return of 4.53%.
ACUMEN Income Portfolio
The ACUMEN Income Portfolio (GBP) returned 0.71% in December. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares sector returned 0.52% and 1.04% respectively. The portfolio has a rolling 1-year return of 5.33%.
ACUMEN Progressive Portfolio
The ACUMEN Progressive Portfolio (GBP) returned 1.41% in December. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares sector returned 0.69% and 1.33% respectively. The portfolio has a rolling 1-year return of 10.92%.
ACUMEN Adventurous Portfolio
The ACUMEN Adventurous Portfolio (GBP) returned 1.51% in December. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA Flexible Investment sector returned 0.77% and 1.16% respectively. The portfolio has a rolling 1-year return of 11.30%.
ACUMEN Equity Portfolio
The ACUMEN Equity Portfolio (GBP) returned 1.58% in December. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA’s Global sector returned 0.94% and 1.77% respectively.
ACUMEN Strategic Portfolio
The ACUMEN Strategic Portfolio (GBP) returned 1.31% in December. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA’s Specialist sector returned 0.94% and 2.54% respectively.
The value of an investment in the Protection Portfolios, ACUMEN Portfolios or Tavistock PROFILES may fall as well as rise. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future performance. Source of data: Tavistock Asset Management Limited, Thomson Reuters and Lipper for Investment Management unless otherwise stated.