Global stocks retreated as volatility returned last week. Trade war fears, White House uncertainty and the Facebook data scandal combined with tightening monetary policy in the U.S. spooked markets worldwide. The S&P 500 declined 6.0%, its worst week in over 14 months, while the VIX peaked above 26 late on Friday. Elsewhere, the EURO STOXX 50 declined 4.1% and the Nikkei 225 fell 4.9%, while locally the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 2.2%. U.S. focused ETFs were the poorest performers for the week, with the technology sector hardest hit. NDQ declined 7.2%, IVV and SPY were both down 6.1% and TECH also dropped 6.1%. Crude oil, gold and gold mining ETFs were the top unleveraged plays for the week.
The Australian dollar retreated 0.7% against the USD to end the week just below US 77c. The U.S. Fed Reserve raised its target rate by 25 basis points and signalled a faster pace of tightening than previously expected. The Japanese yen gained 1.2% against the U.S. dollar to reach its highest level since November 2016, while the euro gained 0.5% to sit just below its recent three-year high.
WTI crude oil jumped 5.7% as inventories dropped, to end the week at US$65.88/bbl. Precious metals gained, with gold adding 2.5% to US$1,347 and silver adding 1.4% on safe-haven buying.
The Australian ETF market saw inflows of $209m into and outflows of $31m from domestically domiciled funds last week. The largest inflows were into domestic equity funds with the biggest movers being STW, adding $110m, and resource sector ETF QRE adding $41m.