View more on these topics

Investment

It was a mixed quarter for world equity markets, with excellent returns in Japan and Asia but slighly disappointing performance of the UK, US and European markets. By the end of the quarter, the FTSE World index had risen 0.6 per cent in sterling terms.

In the UK, the FTSE 100 rose to its highest level in 18 months in January and economic data showed unemployment had fallen to its lowest level for 28 years. As a whole, the UK economy grew at its fastest rate in four years during the second half of 2003.

However, this, coupled with further strength in the housing market, prompted the Bank of England to increase interest rates for the second time in three months in February, increasing the base rate by a quarter of a point to 4 per cent.

Concerns over the health of the global economy and the terrorist attacks in Spain led to stocks to decline sharply in March. The FTSE 100 recorded its biggest single-day fall since May last year and fell to its lowest level since December.

By the end of the quarter, the FTSE 100 had fallen 0.8 per cent, but mid and small caps continued to do well – the FTSE 250 gained 8.4 per cent while the FTSE Small Cap index ended the period up 6.9 per cent.

In the US, economic data continued to point to a recovery, although there was concern over the level of job growth. Most corporate earnings&#39 statements were also positive although much of this had already been reflected in share prices.

Although shares moved higher early in the quarter, the sharp fall in prices following the Madrid bombing as well as dollar weakness led to a fall for the main US indices over the quarter. The Dow Jones declined by 3 per cent and the S&P 500 fell by 1 per cent. Technology shares gave up some gains of the previous 12 months with a 3 per cent fall for the Nasdaq.

In Europe, economic and corporate data was positive but GDP growth for the last quarter of 2003 was slightly lower than expected. Eurozone interest rates were left at 2 per cent – the ninth consecutive month with no change. European stockmarkets moved to their highest level in 20 months in March before falling sharply after the Madrid bombings. By the end of the quarter, the FTSE Eurotop 300 ex UK index was 2.8 per cent lower in sterling terms.

Recommended

St James&#39s Place and Insight link for property fund

St. James&#39s Place has set up a commercial property fund as part of its portfolio of investment bond and pension funds. The fund will be managed by a team from Insight Investment led by property division managing director Duncan Owen. Its anticipated sector profile is 40 per cent retail, 30 per cent office, 10 per […]

Bupa appoints new non-exec director

Bupa has appointed a new non-executive director with Robert Walther taking up the role from May 1.Walther, 60, is currently chairman of the Fleming Claverhouse, Fidelity European Values and a non-executive director of Nationwide Building Society.He is also a previous chief executive of Clerical Medical Investment Group and a member of the Halifax executive committee.Bupa […]

AMI slams MCCB over pressure on renewals

The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has hit out at the Mortgage Code Comp-liance Board for stepping up its renewal operations while mortgage brokers are trying to finish their applications for the FSA. The FSA takes responsibility for mortgage regulation on October 31 and this is the final MCCB renewal period for brokers. MCCB renewals were […]

Review process is a farce

I was very pleased to read Robin Hunter&#39s letter (Money Marketing, March 25). We have a number of clients in very similar situations as the example given in this letter. We also have clients who are only 50-60 per cent of the way through their 25-year policy term. They receive a brief letter based on […]

Guide cover resized

Guide: Johnson Fleming’s managed auto-enrolment service for SMEs

Johnson Fleming has launched its new managed auto-enrolment service, designed to support SME businesses of up to 250 employees. The managed auto-enrolment service is not just about providing businesses with a software system for them to manage themselves, but more about outsourcing the administration of the project and scheme to Johnson Fleming’s auto-enrolment staff.

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm

    Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com