Market Monitor - 8 January 2021
Insights

Market Monitor – 8 January 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic and the way governments and businesses around the world responded to it was the root cause of practically every major stock market movement in 2020. In February and March, the dawning realisation of the likely economic impact of coronavirus – and the lockdown policies that would be necessary to keep infection rates under control – caused a huge slump in share prices around the world, with many major indices losing a third of their value if not more in just a matter of days.

Winners and losers in a mixed year

But the picture for the year as a whole has been remarkably mixed. Stocks as whole have certainly recovered, by and large, from their March lows – but the extent to which individual companies and markets have bounced back has varied considerably. The sector that has proved to be the most resilient in the face of the pandemic has been technology: a mass shift to remote working as the initial lockdown policies came into effect meant that reliance on videoconferencing services and cloud computing increased dramatically, while the growth of online retail also accelerated sharply over the course of the year. The price of shares in the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Zoom soared as a result. Covid-19 had a far more damaging effect elsewhere in the global economy, however: travel businesses such as airlines and hotels have suffered tremendously, as have those in the leisure and hospitality industries – not to mention many of the retailers which were forced to suspend trading as a result of lockdowns. The gloomy outlook has also depressed oil and commodities prices for much of the year, which has been bad news for the likes of energy companies and miners.

FTSE woes and S&P 500 highs

This helps to explain why the FTSE 100 index in London suffered its worst year since the financial crisis – losing more than 14% of its value over the course of 2020 – as the FTSE is disproportionately made up of businesses in these hard-hit sectors. In the United States, conversely, the tech-heavy S&P 500 index spent the latter months of the year at all-time highs, gaining more than 16% on its 2019 close.
Although a number of indices, in particular most of those in Europe, ended the year in the red, there was a widespread rebound from the lows experienced in March. Initially, stocks rose as a result of swift action by central bankers to shore up economies, launching new rounds of quantitative easing, subsidising company wage bills and even issuing cash handouts to consumers. But optimism has also been fuelled by the rapid development of at least three effective Covid-19 vaccines, with news of successful clinical trials lifting global share prices in November. The resounding victory for Joe Biden in the US presidential election in the same month also helped markets shake off their concern that America could face a disorderly transition from the Trump administration. In Britain, the FTSE suffered not only due to its high proportion of coronavirus-hit businesses, but also as a result of persistent concern about Boris Johnson’s ability to negotiate a trade agreement with the European Union – a process he finally managed to conclude on Christmas Eve, exactly a week before Brexit became a practical reality for thousands of businesses. The year ended on a note of uncertainty, with a new, apparently more infectious strain of the coronavirus taking hold in the UK and new lockdowns on the horizon. However, with the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines now well underway, investors had good reason to be cautiously optimistic as 2021 began.
01/01/2020
31/12/2020
Change (%)
FTSE 100
7542
6460
-14.3
FTSE All-share
4196.5
3679.1
-12.3
S&P 500
3230.8
3756.1
16.3
Dow Jones
28538.4
30606.5
7.2
DAX
13249
13718.8
3.5
CAC-40
5978.1
5551.4
-7.1
ACWI
564
646.3
14.6

Note: all market data contained within the article is sourced from Bloomberg unless stated otherwise, data as at 01/01/2021.

8 January 2020
Mark King
Head of Investment Content
Share article
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Key topics
Related topics
apple-podcast
Spotify
listen-on-Stitcher-badge
castbox
Share article
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Key topics
Related topics

PDF

Market Monitor – 8 January 2021

Important information

Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Your capital is at risk. The value of investments and any income is not guaranteed and can go down as well as up and may be affected by exchange rate fluctuations. This means that an investor may not get back the amount invested. This document is not investment, legal, tax, or accounting advice. Investors should consult with their own professional advisors for advice on any investment, legal, tax, or accounting issues relating to an investment with Columbia Threadneedle Investments. The analysis included in this document has been produced by Columbia Threadneedle Investments for its own investment management activities, may have been acted upon prior to publication and is made available here incidentally. Any opinions expressed are made as at the date of publication but are subject to change without notice and should not be seen as investment advice. This document includes forward looking statements, including projections of future economic and financial conditions. None of Columbia Threadneedle Investments, its directors, officers or employees make any representation, warranty, guaranty, or other assurance that any of these forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate. Information obtained from external sources is believed to be reliable, but its accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. Issued by Threadneedle Asset Management Limited. Registered in England and Wales, Registered No. 573204, Cannon Place, 78 Cannon Street, London EC4N 6AG, United Kingdom. Authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority. Columbia Threadneedle Investments is the global brand name of the Columbia and Threadneedle group of companies. columbiathreadneedle.com

Related Insights

26 February 2021

Mark King

Head of Investment Content

Market Monitor - 26 February 2021

Global stock markets have endured another volatile week: while there are encouraging signs regarding the end of the pandemic with the vaccine roll-out continuing across Europe and North America, investors are growing more and more concerned about rising inflation.
Read time - 5 min
19 February 2021

Pauline Grange

Portfolio Manager, Global Equities

Global Sustainable Outcomes, and how Covid-19 could change the world for ever

We talk to portfolio manager Pauline Grange about global equities and investing in companies which aim to address the world's biggest environmental and social challenges.
Read time - 2 min
19 February 2021

Jim Griffin

Investment Content Manager

Market Monitor - 19 February 2021

Global stock markets have endured a mixed week with the February rally appearing to slow down.
Read time - 6 min

You may also like

Investment approach

Teamwork defines us and is fundamental to our investment approach, which is structured to facilitate the generation, assessment and implementation of good, strong investment ideas for our portfolios.

Find your fund

Columbia Threadneedle Investments has a comprehensive range of investment funds catering for a broad range of objectives.

Types of investment

We offer a broad range of actively managed investment strategies and solutions covering global, regional and domestic markets and asset classes.