May: Unhedged Shares Win
- During May, Global Share performance was mediocre. Global shares gained 1.2% on an unhedged basis, but lost 0.2% on a hedged basis, due to a depreciating AUD relative to the USD.
- In the U.S., energy and materials stocks were among the weakest performers in May, with concerns over the demand outlook impacting performance. The performance contrasted starkly with the stocks in the technology sector, which made strong gains. Fervour around artificial intelligence and the potential for a boom in related technology drove chipmakers, in particular, higher.
- Australian shares fell during May, with the broad market index, the S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index losing 2.5%. The best-performing sector was Information Technology, which shot the lights out, gaining 11.6% for the month. Consumer Discretionary was the worst-performing sector for the month, losing 6.2%.
- Fixed income returns for the month were disappointing, with Australian Fixed Interest losing 1.2%, and global fixed interest losing 0.5%.
- The Australian dollar fell by 2.1% against the U.S. dollar over the month. The U.S. economy’s resilience, coupled with a tight labour market, builds expectations for further rate increases, which in turn strengthens the USD. Combining this with a sluggish Chinese economy doesn’t help the AUD. Against the Yen, the AUD was higher, gaining 0.5%.
Debt Ceiling Raised, Inflation Falls
- The annual inflation rate in the U.S. fell to 4.0% in May 2023, the lowest since March 2021, and very slightly below market forecasts of 4.1%, driven by a decline in energy prices. In addition, the core rate, which excludes volatile items such as food and energy, has slowed to 5.3%, the lowest since November 2021, supporting the case for the Fed to consider pausing its cycle of monetary tightening.
- Discussions around the U.S. debt ceiling were the focal point for much of the month. Prior to an agreement being reached, volatility in markets increased markedly. When a compromise was finally reached, markets settled down and moved back towards a business-as-usual scenario.
- The Reserve Bank of Australia somewhat unexpectedly raised the cash rate by 0.25% to 4.1% in early June. The RBA has indicated that the door remains open for further tightening, as inflation remains persistently high and wage growth has picked up. The most recent RBA decision means the cash rate has increased by a total of 4% since May 2022, pushing borrowing costs to their highest level since April 2012.
Major asset class performance
Indices used: Australian Shares: S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index, Australian small companies: S&P/ASX Small Ordinaries Accumulation Index, Global shares (hedged): MSCI World ex Australia Net Total Return (in AUD), Global shares (unhedged): MSCI World ex Australia Hedged AUD Net Total Return Index; Global small companies (unhedged): MSCI World Small Cap Net Total Return USD Index (in AUD); Global emerging markets (unhedged): MSCI Emerging Markets EM Net Total Return AUD Index; Global listed property (hedged): FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Index Hedged in AUD Net Total Return; Cash: Bloomberg AusBond Bank Bill Index; Australian fixed income: Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index; International fixed income: Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Total Return Index Value Hedged AUD. Please note: Past performance is not indicative of future performance.
All foreign exchange rates are rounded to two decimal places where appropriate. Please note: Past performance is not indicative of future performance.
For specific advice customised to your individual circumstances, contact Carrick Aland’s award-winning Wealth Planning team on 1300 466 998 or visit carrickaland.com.au/wealth-planning/.
This document is prepared by Actuate Alliance Services Pty Ltd (ABN 40 083 233 925, AFSL 240959) (‘Actuate’), a member of the Insignia Financial group of companies (‘Insignia Financial Group’). General Advice Disclaimer: The information in this report is general advice only and does not consider the financial objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular investor. Before acting on this report, you should assess your own circumstances or seek personal advice from a licensed financial adviser. This report is current as at the date of issue but may be subject to change or be superseded by future publications. The content is current as at the date of issue and may be subject to change. If an investor requires access to other research reports, they should ask their adviser. In some cases, the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed that the information is accurate and reliable, the accuracy of that information is not guaranteed in any way. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance, and it should not be relied on for any investment decision. Whilst care has been taken in preparing the content, no liability is accepted by Actuate or any member of the Insignia Financial group, nor their agents or employees for any errors or omissions in this report, and/or losses or liabilities arising from any reliance on this report. This report is not available for distribution outside Australia and may not be passed on to any third person without the prior written consent of Actuate.