The stock exchanges took off

The stock-exchange year had a volatile start, with fears of a trade war, rising interest rates and geopolitical unrest. In April, investors pressed the accelerator. That led to a sharp upturn.

For the month as a whole, the US S&P 500 Index rose by 1.8 per cent measured in USD while the European Stoxx 600 Index increased by 5.1 per cent measured in EUR and the Nordic VINX Index ended the month up 3.0 per cent measured in NOK. At the same time, the Oslo Stock Exchange, measured by the OSEBX, climbed by all of 6.8 per cent.

Less fear

Following the unrest in February and March, global shares quickly regained lost ground in April. We noted five all-time highs on the Oslo Stock Exchange during the month, led by the rising oil price and good corporate results. In Sweden, the stock exchange also flipped back to positive so far this year, greatly aided by weaker currency. Among the large stock exchanges, those in the US experienced the least upturn in April, partly due to strengthened USD. Several emerging economies were also slightly weighed down by the strengthened USD.

More mixed macro figures

In the eurozone, the macro figures were rather worse than expected. At the same time, they are at good levels. It is also being speculated whether the March figures were weighed down by temporary effects such as the weather, strikes and the fact that Easter was early this year. Different manufacturing barometers have peaked at high levels, but consumer confidence remains high and unemployment is dropping. For the USA and emerging economies, the figures are still good but here, too, there is slightly less momentum.

Interest rates continue to rise

Many people believe that the European Central Bank will announce it is terminating its quantitative measures before September since the economic growth is good enough. This, combined with expectations of further interest-rate hikes in the USA, a reduction in the US central bank's balance sheet and expectations of more government bonds gradually being made available to finance the fiscal policy, led to US government bond yields reaching their highest level since 2013.

The road ahead ...

As long as interest rates and inflation rise gradually and do not spin out of control, we see this situation as being advantageous for active managers. Companies will to a greater extent be assessed based on their underlying developments and outlooks, while the interest-rate capital that has benefited many dividend companies will gradually return to the interest-rate market.

"Momentum is the next day's starting pitcher"
Earl Weaver