Over the month of September, markets experienced a reversal in investor sentiment. Apart from Overseas Small Caps and Emerging Markets, which returned 1.0% and 1.5% respectively for the month, equity markets broadly experienced negative returns.
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For the month of August, growth assets performed well as investor momentum remained strong. Economic data continued to be encouraging with another strong set of US nonfarm payrolls. As the world continues to open up, retail sales for the US, UK and Eurozone are now back at pre-COVID-19 levels, following the worst quarterly GDP declines on record for most countries. Purchasing manager indices remain in expansionary territory. Australian small caps was the strongest performing equity market, returning 7.2% over August whilst overseas hedged investors realised greater relative gains from the continued appreciation of the Australian Dollar.
The month of July generally saw positive returns across asset classes, as growth assets continue to gain. Emerging Markets were the strongest performing market in equities, with the MSCI EM Index (UH) returning 4.6% over the month. On the domestic front, Australian small caps outperformed large caps and overseas hedged investors realised greater gains from the appreciation of the Australian dollar.
Growth assets continued to recover over June, but at a slower and more volatile pace than in May. Markets were encouraged by the gradual reopening across the developed world and by economic activity indicators, such as non-farm payrolls, but the optimism was tempered by evidence of the pandemic regaining pace in the US and some large emerging market countries such as India and Brazil.