April was a month of two halves for global markets. The start of the month was dominated by news of rising geopolitical tensions, which weighed on market sentiment and saw volatility and gold prices rise.
These tensions gave way to a strong end to the month for global equity markets, which were driven higher by a positive start to the earnings season and a relief rally linked to Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the first round of the French presidential elections. The result was the first time since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958 that no candidate from the major parties made it to the second round. It’s likely that the winner will have limited support in the French Parliament. Despite this, the ‘centrist/market friendly’ result helped the euro reach its highest level against the US dollar for five months.
Sterling was also positive in April and up to its highest level in six months following Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement that there would be a snap general election in June. However, sterling strength weighed on UK large-caps, as did commodity prices, which were weak again – particularly in the second half of the month, as oversupply concerns weighed on energy and industrial metals prices.
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This article was previously published on Tilney prior to the launch of Evelyn Partners.