The S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.8% last week, its best weekly performance in over a year. Every sector registered a positive return for the week, with Financials, Materials and Real Estate sectors being the largest contributors. Small cap stocks also performed strongly, with three domestic small cap ETFs (MVS, ISO and SSO) all returning close to 3% for the week. Offshore, the S&P 500 declined modestly, despite a technology-driven recovery towards the end of the week. ETFS Morningstar Global Technology ETF (TECH) was the top performing international fund for the week.
The recent U.S. dollar rally continued last week as the Fed expressed confidence in the U.S. inflation outlook. The DXY Dollar Index gained 1.1% and reached new 2018 highs. The Australian dollar dropped below US75c before recovering in late trading on Friday. The euro declined by 1.4% against the U.S. dollar following disappointing eurozone inflation numbers.
WTI crude oil continued to rally, adding 2.4% for the week. Precious metals mostly retreated, with gold declining 0.7% to US$1,315/oz. The broad Bloomberg Commodity Index gained 0.7%.
The Australian ETF market saw inflows of $283m into and outflows of $60m from domestically domiciled funds last week. Broad-based domestic equity funds saw $82m of inflows across VAS, STW, MVW and EX20, while investors switched from Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares Hedged ETF (VGAD) to its unhedged counterpart (VGS).