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Market Review April 2020

Monthly Market Review – April 2020

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How the different asset classes have fared:
(As at 30 April 2020)

1 Bloomberg AusBond Bank 0+Y TR AUD, 2 Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+Y TR AUD, 3 Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate TR Hdg AUD, 4 S&P/ASX All Ordinaries TR, 5 Vanguard International Shares Index, 6 Vanguard Intl Shares Index Hdg AUD TR, 7 Vanguard Emerging Markets Shares Index, 8 FTSE Developed Core Infrastructure 50/50 NR AUD, 9 S&P/ASX 300 AREIT TR, 10 FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Global REITs NR AUD

Financial markets partly recovered in April after very steep falls in March. Share markets, both in Australia and internationally, rose and the Australian dollar appreciated as risk sentiment improved. Government bond yields largely moved sideways over the month as liquidity conditions in bond markets improved and global central banks reaffirmed significant policy easing that had been announced in March.

Cash and Fixed Income

Global government bond yields largely moved sideways in April, at very low levels, after significant volatility in March. Central banks, including the Reserve Bank of Australia, reaffirmed the significant policy easing that they had announced in March.

Corporate credit spreads narrowed over the month after widening very sharply in March, but they remain at historically elevated levels as the perceived riskiness of buying corporate debt remains high due to the coronavirus crisis.

Australian Shares

After plunging by 21% in March, the Australian share market recovered by 9.5% in April alongside other global share markets. The recovery was fueled by the large monetary and fiscal easing measures that have been announced by both Australian and global authorities, combined with news of flattening coronavirus curves and moves towards relaxing lockdowns in a number of countries. However, further volatility in share markets is likely in the months ahead.

ANZ and NAB both reported their half-year profit results in April. ANZ deferred the decision on its 2020 interim dividend until there is greater clarity regarding the economic impact of the coronavirus and announced a 60% decline in its interim cash profit. ANZ will provide a dividend update in August. NAB announced that it will reduce its interim dividend to 30c per share (from 83c per share last year) and it will raise $3.5 billion in capital to improve its balance sheet ahead of an expected spike in credit losses due to the coronavirus crisis. The two banks underperformed the broader market in April, to finish the month little changed.

International Shares

International share markets partly recovered in April, supported by the substantial and coordinated fiscal and monetary response to the coronavirus globally and the prospect for social distancing measures to be eased in several countries. The recovery in shares was despite the release of economic data which showed a huge hit to global economic activity, including sharp falls in consumer confidence, surging unemployment claims and a record plunge in US retail sales.

The breadth of the recovery in the US S&P500 has been fairly narrow and has not been led by the traditional cyclical sectors. Rather, healthcare and technology sectors have outperformed based on their perceived defensive characteristics. The top five stocks in the S$P 500 now account for 20% of the overall index and these stocks have been leading the recovery, meaning that the breadth of the recovery has been very low. According to Morgan Stanley, the percentage of S&P500 stocks outperforming the index on a rolling two-month window is at the lowest level since 2008.

Oil prices remained under intense pressure in April, with the US oil benchmark (WTI) briefly plunging

into negative territory for the first time in history. Oil prices have fallen due to a sharp decline in demand because of global coronavirus shutdowns, travel bans and a disagreement between Saudi Arabia and Russia about cutting oil production. Since the start of the year, oil prices are down by between 60-70%. While this is bad news for producers, low fuel prices are good news for consumers as it frees up spending power which will eventually help consumer spending.

The Australian Dollar

The Australian dollar rebounded by around 6.5% in April due to positive risk sentiment as global share markets partly retraced their sharp March falls. The Australian dollar was also supported by resilient iron ore prices and a widening in the Australia/US interest rate differential (with the Australian 10-year government bond yield now higher than the US 10-year government bond yield); sharp falls in coal prices had little impact.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this material is current as at date of publication unless otherwise specified and is provided by ClearView Financial Advice Pty Ltd ABN 89 133 593 012, AFS Licence No. 331367 (ClearView) and Matrix Planning Solutions Limited ABN 45 087 470 200, AFS Licence No. 238 256 (Matrix). Any advice contained in this material is general advice only and has been prepared without taking account of any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any such information, a person should consider its appropriateness, having regard to their objectives, financial situation and needs. In preparing this material, ClearView and Matrix have relied on publicly available information and sources believed to be reliable. Except as otherwise stated, the information has not been independently verified by ClearView or Matrix. While due care and attention has been exercised in the preparation of the material, ClearView and Matrix give no representation, warranty (express or implied) as to the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the information. The information in this document is also not intended to be a complete statement or summary of the industry, markets, securities or developments referred to in the material. Any opinions expressed in this material, including as to future matters, may be subject to change. Opinions as to future matters are predictive in nature and may be affected by inaccurate assumptions or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties and may differ materially from results ultimately achieved. Past performance is not an indicator of future

Market Review March 2020

Monthly Market Review – March 2020

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How the different asset classes have fared:
(As at 31 March 2020)

1 Bloomberg AusBond Bank 0+Y TR AUD, 2 Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+Y TR AUD, 3 Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate TR Hdg AUD, 4 S&P/ASX All Ordinaries TR, 5 Vanguard International Shares Index, 6 Vanguard Intl Shares Index Hdg AUD TR, 7 Vanguard Emerging Markets Shares Index, 8 FTSE Developed Core Infrastructure 50/50 NR AUD, 9 S&P/ASX 300 AREIT TR, 10 FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Global REITs NR AUD

Financial markets were extremely volatile in March as investors grappled with immense uncertainty about the depth and the duration of the coronavirus’s impact on global growth. Share markets remained under intense pressure as the number of new coronavirus cases continued to surge and financial markets (particularly bond markets) experienced significant liquidity issues during the month. Governments around the world announced very large stimulus measures to support economic activity and central banks announced aggressive monetary easing to stabilise financial markets. While economic pain cannot be avoided in the near term, there are plenty of tools available to fight the economic slowdown in the longer term.

During this period of market volatility, it’s important to remember that financial markets have been through all sorts of crises and this is one from which the economy will eventually emerge. Long-term returns to share markets have historically been in the 7-9% per annum range for most markets around the world. However, these great returns come at the price of bouts of volatility every 10 or so years.

Cash and Fixed Income

Global government and corporate bond markets were highly volatile in March. Australian and international government bond yields initially plunged to historic lows, before rebounding sharply as investors sold positions across-the-board and bond markets became highly illiquid. The rebound higher in bond yields saw many central banks respond with aggressive monetary easing, including a combination of rate cuts, quantitative easing and liquidity injections aimed at restoring liquidity and proper market functioning to government bond and interest rate markets. The response by central banks was much faster and more aggressive than their response in 2008. As a result of the central bank action, government bond yields retraced lower towards the end of the month, with the 10-year Australian government bond yield finishing the month largely unchanged.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) was one of the central banks to announce a package of policy measures in March, including two 25 basis point rate cuts to a historic low of 0.25% and quantitative easing (QE). QE involves the RBA buying large quantities of longer-term securities such as government on the open market. The RBA bids in the market to buy the bonds and can in theory buy almost unlimited quantities of bonds because it does so with newly created bank reserves. Its effects are:

  1. If the RBA buys bonds and pays bondholders cash, the cash from the purchase of the bonds is deposited in the banking system resulting in banks being kept liquid in stressed environments. They have a lot of cash on hand that they can lend if need be.
  2. When the RBA buys bonds, they tend to push down long-term interest rates, which may stimulate the economy. It also tends to weaken the currency because you get lower interest rates when investing in Australia.

Therefore, QE is designed to provide both liquidity and stimulus to the economy in stressed times.

Corporate bond markets were also extremely volatile in March. Credit spreads widened substantially, particularly for high-yield bonds, but also for investment-grade bonds. This increases funding costs for corporations. Due to poor liquidity conditions in corporate bond markets, central banks announced a raft of liquidity measures. In particular, the US Federal Reserve stated that they would start purchasing investment-grade corporate bonds in the secondary market (i.e. bonds currently held by banks and funds). This was a crucial step in improving credit market liquidity and as a result corporate bond spreads retraced modestly lower towards the end of the month, but they remain very elevated.

Australian Shares

The Australian share market plunged by 21% in March due to the very major impact of the coronavirus on the economy and the financial system. As a result of the surge in new coronavirus cases across the globe, countries restricted the movement of people across borders and implemented social distancing measures. The falls in equity prices were broadly based across sectors, although the energy and tourism sectors fell particularly sharply. The equity prices of banks also fell significantly. Equity prices did stage a partial recovery late in the month after governments around the world, including Australia, announced large stimulus packages. At the end of the month, the Australian Treasury announced the single biggest post-war fiscal measure in Australia – a A$130bn JobKeeper Payment to business to keep their staff. The JobKeeper Payment is worth 6.5% of GDP and takes the combined fiscal stimulus measures by the Australian government to around 11% of GDP.

International Shares

International share markets (hedged) fell sharply by 13% in March due to ongoing concerns about the impact of the coronavirus on global growth. However, unhedged international shares were partly cushioned by a depreciation in the Australian dollar, falling by 8%. The declines in equity prices were broad-based, although some sectors were hit harder than others. Banks fell sharply. Sectors like oil and gas and basic resources were also hit hard, followed closely by a range of consumer-related sectors like tourism and leisure, auto, transport and travel, retail, food and beverages, and electronics.

The Australian Dollar

The Australian dollar finished the month roughly 5% lower due to negative risk sentiment, but it also experienced sharp swings over the month like other financial markets – dropping to 55.11c at one stage (the lowest level since 2002) before rebounding to around 61c at the end of the month.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this material is current as at date of publication unless otherwise specified and is provided by ClearView Financial Advice Pty Ltd ABN 89 133 593 012, AFS Licence No. 331367 (ClearView) and Matrix Planning Solutions Limited ABN 45 087 470 200, AFS Licence No. 238 256 (Matrix). Any advice contained in this material is general advice only and has been prepared without taking account of any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any needs. In preparing this material, ClearView and Matrix have relied on publicly available information and sources believed to be reliable. Except as otherwise stated, the information has not been independently verified by ClearView or Matrix. While due warranty is also not intended to be a complete statement or summary of the industry, markets, securities or developments referred to in the material. Any opinions expressed in this material, including as to future matters, may be subject to change. Opinions as to future matters are predictive in nature and may be affected by inaccurate assumptions or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties and may differ materially from results ultimately achieved. Past performance is not an indicator of future

Market Review February 2020

Monthly Market Review – February 2020

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Thoughts on Recent Events

As many of you would be aware US, European and Australian stock indices have fallen as investors grapple to understand the impact of COVID-19 on economies around the world. Following initial cuts to official interest rates it seems likely that further monetary stimulus will be provided by governments including the increasing probability of quantitative easing to sure up liquidity. Domestically, Scott Morrison announced a range of fiscal measures designed to boost economic activity and help to avoid a recession.

Some interesting points to consider:

  • Exposures to cash, fixed income and alternative assets can offset the fall in equity valuations.
  • Whilst share valuations have fallen, dividends haven’t. Companies like to smooth their dividends over time. They never go up as much as earnings in the good times and so rarely fall as much in the bad times.
  • When thinking of any long-term asset such as shares, over 90% of their value is dependent on profits more than 12 months out. Thus, a few quarters of deteriorating profits should not have a long-term impact on valuations.
  • The recent correction is quite possibly providing the best buying opportunities since the GFC 10 years ago.
  • For long term investors, as opposed to short term speculators, price fluctuations have only one significant meaning – an opportunity to buy wisely when prices fall and to sell wisely when they advance a great deal.
  • One of the primary reasons individuals can fail as long-term investors is they pay too much attention to what the stock market is currently doing and react to it.

How the different asset classes have fared:
(As at 29 February 2020)

1 Bloomberg AusBond Bank 0+Y TR AUD, 2 Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+Y TR AUD, 3 Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate TR Hdg AUD, 4 S&P/ASX All Ordinaries TR, 5 Vanguard International Shares Index, 6 Vanguard Intl Shares Index Hdg AUD TR, 7 Vanguard Emerging Markets Shares Index, 8 FTSE Developed Core Infrastructure 50/50 NR AUD, 9 S&P/ASX 300 AREIT TR, 10 FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Global REITs NR AUD

Australian and global share markets plunged in February due to concerns about the coronavirus’s impact on global growth and corporate profits. The US S&P 500 recorded its fastest correction since the Great Depression, falling by 12 per cent over six days from its record closing high on February 19. Australian and international bond yields fell, and the Australian dollar depreciated against the US dollar.

Cash and Fixed Income

Australian and international bond yields fell in February to record lows in many countries, including Australia, as investors flocked to safe-haven assets due to developments and risks associated with the coronavirus. Investors bought bonds, pushing bond prices up and bond yields down, as expectations for monetary easing increased due to concerns about the impact of the coronavirus on global growth.

Earlier in the month, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept the cash rate unchanged at 0.75%. On February 28, following sharp falls in equity markets, the US Federal Reserve issued a press release stating that they will use their tools to act as appropriate to support the economy as the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity. This statement signaled that the Federal Reserve would likely cut rates at its meeting in March.

Australian economic data was mixed over the month and was overshadowed by news about the coronavirus. Retail sales fell by more than expected in December after Black Friday sales pulled forward spending in November. Employment data was mixed; employment growth was stronger than expected (driven by part-time jobs) but the unemployment rate increased unexpectedly to 5.3%, underemployment rose, and wages growth remained subdued. House prices strengthened further in January and housing loan approvals also continued to increase, led by owner-occupiers. However, housing credit growth, which relates to the stock of housing debt, remained subdued because new lending has been offset by a faster repayment of existing mortgages.

Australian Shares

The Australian share market plunged by 8.1% in February, led by losses in the information technology, energy and materials sectors. Losses in the Australian share market were concentrated later in the month following a rapid escalation in new coronavirus cases outside China, notably in South Korea, Italy and Iran. This raised concerns that the coronavirus will disrupt economic activity more deeply and for longer than had been initially expected by the market. Australia’s export earnings will be significantly impacted, particularly in the tourism, education and resources sectors, since China accounts for nearly one-third of Australia’s exports. The uncertainty that the coronavirus creates will likely also negatively affect domestic spending. The Australian share market continues to face significant uncertainty and there is likely more volatility to come.

A number of Australian companies reported profit results in February for the half year to December 2019. Only 53% of companies reported an increase in profits compared to a year ago, and several companies issued profit downgrades related to the impact of the coronavirus.

International Shares

International share markets (hedged) fell sharply by 8.4% in February due to renewed concerns about the impact of the coronavirus on global growth following a large increase in new cases outside China. However, unhedged international shares were partly cushioned by a depreciation in the Australian dollar, falling by 4.8%. The coronavirus is a fast-developing situation and it is too early to tell how persistent the effects of the coronavirus will be on global growth and at what point the global economy will return to an improving path. Chinese economic activity has experienced a severe decline, global supply chains and international travel have been disrupted and global consumer spending may start to be impacted as households become more cautious. The uncertainty created by the coronavirus will likely result in further volatility in financial markets.

The US profit reporting season for Q419 continued in February, with most companies surprising to the upside. However, a number of US companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Walmart and Nike, announced that their near-term revenues will likely fall short of guidance due to the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

The Australian Dollar

The Australian dollar depreciated by around 3% against the US dollar over the month to its lowest level since 2009 due to negative risk sentiment and increased concerns about the impact of the coronavirus in Australia’s export earnings.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this material is current as at date of publication unless otherwise specified and is provided by ClearView Financial Advice Pty Ltd ABN 89 133 593 012, AFS Licence No. 331367 (ClearView) and Matrix Planning Solutions Limited ABN 45 087 470 200, AFS Licence No. 238 256 (Matrix). Any advice contained in this material is general advice only and has been prepared without taking account of any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any such information, a person should consider its appropriateness, having regard to their objectives, financial situation and needs. In preparing this material, ClearView and Matrix have relied on publicly available information and sources believed to be reliable. Except as otherwise stated, the information has not been independently verified by ClearView or Matrix. While due care and attention has been exercised in the preparation of the material, ClearView and Matrix give no representation, warranty (express or implied) as to the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the information. The information in this document is also not intended to be a complete statement or summary of the industry, markets, securities or developments referred to in the material. Any opinions expressed in this material, including as to future matters, may be subject to change. Opinions as to future matters are predictive in nature and may be affected by inaccurate assumptions or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties and may differ materially from results ultimately achieved. Past performance is not an indicator of future

Market Review January 2020

Monthly Market Review – January 2020

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Recent Market Update Key Points

While the last three days has seen equity markets around the world retreat from their previous highs, the returns for anyone who has been exposed to these markets over the last 12 months is still overwhelmingly positive.

The best defense for this kind of market volatility is to maintain a long term view and a well-
diversified portfolio that holds a range of investments including:

  • Currency unhedged international equity portfolios which benefit from weakness in the Australian dollar
  • Funds with an ability to short sell equities and hence benefit from falling share prices
  • Exposures to commodities such as gold
  • Defensive allocations to cash and fixed income

The graphs below highlight the five-year returns for the S&P 500 index in the United States and the S&P 200 index of Australian equities as well as regional returns over the last 12 months.



How the different asset classes have fared:
(As at 31 January 2020)

1 Bloomberg AusBond Bank 0+Y TR AUD, 2 Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+Y TR AUD, 3 Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate TR Hdg AUD, 4 S&P/ASX All Ordinaries TR, 5 Vanguard International Shares Index, 6 Vanguard Intl Shares Index Hdg AUD TR, 7 Vanguard Emerging Markets Shares Index, 8 FTSE Developed Core Infrastructure 50/50 NR AUD, 9 S&P/ASX 300 AREIT TR, 10 FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Global REITs NR AUD

Australian shares rallied sharply in January, while international share markets (hedged) were broadly unchanged. Australian and international bond yields fell, and the Australian dollar depreciated against the US dollar.

Cash and Fixed Income

Australian and international bond yields steadily fell in January (bond prices rose). Bonds yields initially fell modestly following an escalation in tensions between the US and Iran early in the month, before extending lower after the outbreak of the coronavirus as investors flocked to safe-haven assets (pushing bond prices up and bond yields down).

The release of generally stronger-than-expected Australian economic data appeared to have little impact on bond yields over the month. Retail sales rebounded in November (boosted by Black Friday sales which likely pulled sales forward from December) and employment data was stronger-than-expected (driven by part-time jobs) which resulted in a slight fall in the unemployment rate. Inflation was also a touch higher than expectations but still well below the RBA’s 2-3% target. With economic data generally better than expected, the market pared back expectations of a rate cut by the RBA at its February meeting to only a 10-20% chance. House prices strengthened further in December, led by strong gains in Sydney and Melbourne. Housing loan approvals also continued to increase, while housing credit growth remained subdued. The devastating bushfires in Australia over the summer are expected to negatively impact growth in the short-term due to significant disruption in the affected areas and the impact on tourism. However, there will likely be a positive impact from rebuilding in the medium-term.

The US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank kept monetary policy unchanged in January.

Australian Shares

The Australian share market rallied by 4.7% in January, more than reversing its December losses, led by gains in the healthcare and information technology sectors. The share market rose strongly in the first half of the month, although there was little news behind the move, other than signs that global growth appeared to be stabilising and the signing of the ‘phase one’ trade deal between the US and China. However, Australian shares pared gains later in the month following the outbreak of the coronavirus. Since China accounts for nearly one-third of Australia’s exports, there will be a negative impact on Australian economic growth due to a temporary disruption to tourism, education and commodities exports.

International Shares

International share markets (hedged) finished the month slightly lower, with early gains eroded later in the month following the outbreak of the coronavirus. However, unhedged international shares performed strongly as the Australian dollar fell over the month. Asian shares were hit particularly hard later in the month due to the coronavirus. Coronavirus has already impacted the level of economic activity in China and will likely result in significantly lower economic activity for the region in the March and June quarters (due to lower retail spending, travel and closed or not fully operational businesses).

The US reporting season started in January, with around 45% of companies reporting Q419 results over the month. Most companies that reported earnings surprised to the upside.

The Australian Dollar

The Australian dollar depreciated by around 4% against the US dollar over the month, more than reversing its appreciation in December. The Australian dollar was weighed down by negative risk sentiment due to the coronavirus, lower iron ore prices (due to concerns about the impact of the coronavirus on Chinese demand for iron ore) and a widening in the differential between Australian and US interest rates.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this material is current as at date of publication unless otherwise specified and is provided by ClearView Financial Advice Pty Ltd ABN 89 133 593 012, AFS Licence No. 331367 (ClearView) and Matrix Planning Solutions Limited ABN 45 087 470 200, AFS Licence No. 238 256 (Matrix). Any advice contained in this material is general advice only and has been prepared without taking account of any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any such information, a person should consider its appropriateness, having regard to their objectives, financial situation and needs. In preparing this material, ClearView and Matrix have relied on publicly available information and sources believed to be reliable. Except as otherwise stated, the information has not been independently verified by ClearView or Matrix. While due care and attention has been exercised in the preparation of the material, ClearView and Matrix give no representation, warranty (express or implied) as to the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the information. The information in this document is also not intended to be a complete statement or summary of the industry, markets, securities or developments referred to in the material. Any opinions expressed in this material, including as to future matters, may be subject to change. Opinions as to future matters are predictive in nature and may be affected by inaccurate assumptions or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties and may differ materially from results ultimately achieved. Past performance is not an indicator of future

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