Equities hit a high note

It was a positive week for investment markets with economics, earnings, and European trade leading equities higher, writes Ian Slattery.

Trading room at Zurich Life Investments Ireland

Markets were higher last week as trade tensions between the US and Europe de-escalated following a meeting between President Trump and EC President Juncker. There were also some positive headlines from the ongoing NAFTA negotiations which were welcomed by the market.

There was an upside surprise for US GDP growth with the Q2 figure coming in at 4.1% (YoY) with growth also revised upwards for the previous year. President Trump cheered the news in a series of tweets, taking the figures as a sign of the success of the administration’s policies.

Earnings data continues to pore in last week, with the Tech sector grabbing the headlines. Both Facebook and Twitter fell heavily in after-hours trading subsequent to posting results, as figures disappointed on sales and user growth. However, earnings continue to be broadly positive, with a slew of further results being released this week.

The global index moved higher last week, finishing up 1.4% after being led by strong showings in both Europe and Asia.

Oil was lower and closed just short of $69/barrel, whilst gold was down slightly, closing at $1,223 per troy ounce.

The 10 year US bond yield finished the week at 2.95%, as the US economy looks to remain on a strong footing. The German equivalent closed at 0.40%.

The week ahead

Tuesday 31 July: In the eurozone, the consensus expects preliminary Q2 GDP growth to come in at 0.4% (YoY), whilst the flash headline inflation figure is expected to print at 2.1% (YoY).

Wednesday 1 August: The FOMC convenes for its latest interest rate meeting where the market does not expect any change to current policy, with two further rate rises forecast by the market this year.

Friday  3 August: The July non-farm payrolls report goes to print where the consensus expects continuing strong employment numbers of 190,000 (last: 213,000).

About: Zurich Investments

The team at Zurich Investments is a long established and highly experienced team of investment managers who manage approximately €22.9bn in investments of which pension assets amount to €10.4bn. Find out more about Zurich Life's funds and investments here.

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