Equity Markets Surge: U.S., Europe, and Japanese Markets Reach Record Highs in Q1 – What’s Next for Investors?

New York, USA – Major global equity markets displayed resilience and strength in the first quarter of 2024, driven by enthusiasm surrounding artificial intelligence, positive economic data, and investor anticipation for potential rate cuts from central banks in the remaining year. The U.S. and Europe experienced market highs, while Japanese equities soared beyond a 34-year record. China also showed signs of recovery after facing pressures in 2023.

During the quarter, significant meetings were held by prominent central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, Bank of England, European Central Bank, and Bank of Japan. While the U.S., U.K., and Europe opted to maintain interest rates unchanged as they monitored economic data, the Bank of Japan implemented its first rate hike since 2007 and exited negative interest rate territory.

The portfolio’s return for the reporting period stood at 4.57%, contrasting with the MSCI World Index’s 8.88% return. Daimler Truck Holding, Fiserv, and Kroger emerged as top contributors, while Charter Communications, Bayer, and Worldline faced challenges as top detractors. The quarter also saw the initiation of positions in Deere & Company and Reckitt Benckiser Group, with eliminations of HCA Healthcare and Recruit Holdings.

Looking ahead, a focus on bottom-up, fundamental analysis at the company level remains critical amidst shifting macroeconomic landscapes. The strategy involves investing in undervalued businesses poised for long-term growth, managed by forward-thinking executives. Maintaining a diverse portfolio crafted for sustainable success is key to weathering uncertainties in the market.