Equity markets

In the first half of the year, monetary easing in Europe caused a rally on European equity markets, especially in southern Europe. Turning points were the European interest rate shock at the end of April, the Greek crisis during the summer and the 'flash crash’ of 24 August that followed the devaluation of the Chinese yuan.

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Regional equity returns in EUR

 

Worldwide sector returns in EUR

 

 

 

 

 

Region

%

 

Sector

%

 

 

 

 

 

Source: MSCI, Bloomberg

 

 

Source: MSCI, Bloomberg

 

Japan

22.1

 

Healthcare

18.7

North-America

10.4

 

Consumer Staples

18.4

World

10.4

 

Consumer Discretionary

17.5

Eurozone

9.8

 

Information Technology

16.7

Europe

8.2

 

Telecom

14.2

Pacific excl. Japan

2.0

 

Industrials

9.1

Emerging markets

-5.2

 

Financials

7.6

 

 

 

Utilities

4.0

 

 

 

Materials

-5.6

 

 

 

Energy

-14.0

 

 

 

 

 

Regions and sectors

In local currencies, the MSCI World Index generated a return of 2%. Exchange rate fluctuations had a major impact on the performance of this index, however. Calculated in euros, the MSCI World Index ended the year with a 10.4% gain, mainly due to the appreciation of the dollar.

Returns varied widely across sectors (measured in euros). Healthcare (+18.7%) and Consumer Staples (+18.4%) were strong performers. Only two sectors ended the year negatively, i.e. Energy (-14.0%) and Materials (-5.6%). The fall in oil and commodity prices had a major impact on the earnings figures of companies that operate in these sectors. This caused some heavily indebted companies to run into trouble.

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