Highs and lows across markets

Equities stay afloat amid choppy geopolitical waters, but will the super powers instil a sense of stability across the markets, asks Ian Slattery?

Trading room at Zurich Life Investments Ireland

US unemployment reached a 10-year low with the rate dropping from 4.7% to 4.5% - the lowest since May 2007. Equities threaded water over the week watching US tax reform discussions and the conflict in Syria.

The other big news of the week came from the FOMC's March meeting minutes which debated on whether to shrink the Fed's balance sheet. No decision yet however has been made with the Fed expected to keep a close eye on CPI figures this week for clues on how the economy is performing.

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping both sounded upbeat after an 18 hour summit held between the leaders of the world's two biggest economies in Florida last week. A stable relationship between the two will be seen as crucial in dealing with North Korea's nuclear threat.

The global index finished the week with a gain of 0.4%, leaving the return for the year to date at a positive 5.8%. Gold saw gains again last week, and along with silver and copper, has delivered positive returns year-to-date. Oil rose 3.2% last week although it remains in negative territory for 2017.

US 10-year bond yields fell slightly this week to 2.38%. The equivalent German yield fell from 0.33% to 0.23%, marking a good week for Eurozone bonds.

The week ahead

Tuesday 11th April: In the US, the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) results are due to be announced in the morning. Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen will be using this data to gauge the employment picture in the US.

Thursday 13th April: US banks JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo are all due to announce their first-quarter earnings for 2017 on Thursday. The forecast is for good news with a double digit increase in earnings-per-share from this time last year.

Friday 14th April: US CPI figures will be announced on Friday, where the Fed will be watching closely to see if it can achieve its target rate of inflation of 2%.

About: Zurich Investments

The team at Zurich Investments is a long established and highly experienced team of investment managers who manage approximately €20.8bn in investments of which pension assets amount to €9.9bn. Find out more about Zurich Life's funds and investments here.

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