Equity markets

Equities performed well, with a gain of 8.1% in euros, owing to the positive growth surprises and solid earnings growth. The performances of main economic regions, except for emerging markets, did not vary that much, ranging from +6.8% for the US equity market to +10.9% for European equities. The latter category enjoyed a particularly strong performance in the run-up to the French elections, but subsequently lost some ground, partly because of the stronger euro.

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Regional equity returns in EUR, 2017

 

Worldwide sector returns in EUR, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Region

%

 

Sector

%

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging markets

21.0

 

Information Technology

21.9

Pacific excl. Japan

20.6

 

Materials

13.7

Eurozone

13.3

 

Industrials

10.6

Europe

10.9

 

Consumer Discretionary

9.1

Japan

9.3

 

Financials

8.4

World

8.1

 

Healthcare

5.8

North-America

6.8

 

Consumer Staples

3.5

 

 

 

Utilities

0.7

 

 

 

Telecom

-6.2

 

 

 

Energy

-7.0

 

 

 

 

 

Cyclical sectors clearly outperformed defensive sectors. Information Technology was a star performer, gaining 21.9%, followed by Materials (+13.7%), Industrials (+10.6%) and the Consumer Discretionary sector (+9.1%). The Materials sector benefited from the price rises for commodities, particularly metals. The oil price was weak, especially during the first half of the year, as a result of which the energy sector lagged (-7.0%). Oil prices recovered during the second half of the year, which should translate into higher inflation expectations. Higher oil prices also have the benefit of making renewable energy sources more economically competitive, which should benefit wind and solar companies over the long run.

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