Equities saw nearly $20 billion in outflows, largely due to high withdrawals from domestic large-cap stocks. Meanwhile, bonds experienced more than $20 billion in inflows and hybrid funds saw around $1 billion of withdrawals. Investment grade and government bonds were the instruments that benefitted the most from investor demand.
The impeachment inquiry of U.S. President Donald Trump has continued, with several parties testifying that the President attempted to gain political favor from Ukraine in exchange for U.S. support.
The U.S. Federal Reserve’s minutes for its October meeting showed that the central bank’s officials see little scope for cutting interest rates further if economic conditions do not worsen substantially.
In her first speech as President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde called on Europe to focus on its domestic markets and remain open to multilateral trade, amid global trade tensions that have taken a toll on some of the European manufacturing juggernauts such as Germany. Indeed, Europe’s overall manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 46.6, the tenth consecutive month of contraction. Germany’s manufacturing PMI stood at 43.8 in November.
The value of China’s new commercial and consumer loans dropped to 661 billion yuan in October, reaching a low not seen since January 2018. However, the drop comes fresh on the heels of a strong figure in September, when 1.7 trillion yuan worth of loans were issued.
The U.K. avoided entering a recession during the third quarter, although the 0.3% growth rate was the lowest since 2010. On an annual basis, U.K.’s output rose 1%, compared with more than 2% prior to the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Germany also ducked recession in the third quarter, with GDP rising just 0.1% after a fall of a downwardly revised 0.2% in the prior three-month period.
U.S. inflation unexpectedly rose in October although it is still slightly below the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%. The consumer price index gauge advanced 1.8% in the 12 months through October due to higher prices for energy, healthcare, and food items. Core CPI, meanwhile, increased 2.4% in October after rising 2.3% in September.
U.S. retail sales surged 0.3% in October, recovering from a decline of 0.3% in the prior month. With the exception of September, retail sales growth has been strong since June.
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Vanguard’s international stock market index fund (VGTSX) declined 0.8%, the worst performer from the pack.
Meanwhile, *Vanguard’s total bond index fund (VBMFX) gained 0.82%, beating its all the other instruments from the pack. The total bond index fund was the worst performer in the prior two-week-period.
Healthcare sector fund (THISX) surged around 4.2%, becoming the best performer from the pack.
After taking the first spot in the prior two weeks, Fidelity’s chemicals sector fund (FSCHX) is now the worst performer with a decline of more than 3%.
Latin America equities fund (RLAIX) advanced 0.32% for the past two weeks, becoming the top performer after its performance thoroughly disappointed during the prior two weeks.
Chinese equities fund (MICDX) shed 3.4% during the previous two weeks, the worst performance from the pack.
Major Asset Classes
PIMCO’s extended duration bonds fund (PEDIX) gained an impressive 5.3%, by far the best performance from the pack. Bond yields have continued to drop as the Federal Reserve cut interest rates this year, pushing up bond prices.
Vanguard’s high-yield corporate bonds fund (VWEHX) lost 0.17% during the past two weeks, the only faller from the pack.
The Bottom Line
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