Reopening has begun
May was a strong month for the world's stock exchanges, lifted by greater positivity about the reopening of several key economies. At the same time, tension is increasing in the USA.
During the month as a whole, the US S&P 500 Index climbed 4.8 per cent measured in USD, while the European Stoxx 600 Index rose by 3.5 per cent measured in EUR and the Nordic VINX Index increased by 3.0 per cent measured in NOK. The Oslo Stock Exchange (OSEBX) saw an upturn of 2.8 per cent.
The reopening of the global economies is continuing more or less as planned. So far, we have seen no signs of a fresh outbreak, as many people feared. However, the precautionary principle means that many sectors will experience a slow return to normal. This is also expensive. The USA is still trailing a few weeks behind most places in Europe. The lag in traditional macro figures means that analysts are now increasingly looking at high-frequency data – such as mobility data from Apple and Google. These show that the bottom was reached in April. Clothes sales and visits to hairdressers show the same trend.
Financial rescue packages have been agreed on with record speed and in record sizes during the corona pandemic. Some are more complicated than others. The European Central Bank's PEPP (Pandemic Emergency Purchasing Programme) is an example of a complicated one. The ECB meeting in June agreed to increase the PEPP's capacity from Euro 750bn to Euro 1,350bn. That was more than expected, and the programme's horizon was also extended. The PEPP comes on top of other rescue packages from the ECB.
USA and China
The conflict between the USA and China has flared up again. While both sides are hurling accusations at each other, there are increasing fears of a re-escalation of the trade war. Ahead of the presidential election, Trump's search for a scapegoat may make the entire situation even more tense. At the same time, the USA is experiencing domestic tension following the police violence and subsequent demonstrations, and this may also have major political and economic consequences.
The road ahead …
The stock market is still optimistic about the ongoing recovery. We are now also seeing more cyclical shares take part in the upturn. Unlike in the technology sector, these shares still have a long way to go to reach previous peaks. Record-low interest rates are also making shares tempting to more and more investors.
"My big focus is China and OPEC and all of these countries that are just absolutely destroying the United States"