Southern European nations and Ireland post big gains in March

1st April 2014

The unloved stock markets dubbed the PIIGS by churlish investment managers have had a very good March according to the latest figures. Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain have posted good performance and likely to have pulled up the performance of some European funds. Emerging markets also had a good March making up for difficulties faced by Russia. The following are the best performing funds.

Top performing funds in March 2014

Fund % IMA Sector Rank
JPM Turkey Equity A 13.78 Specialist 1
HSBC GIF Indian Equity 12.93 Specialist 2
JPMorgan India A 9.22 Specialist 3
Neptune India A 9.07 Specialist 4
JPM Emerging Middle East Equity A 8.53 Specialist 5
Scottish Widows Latin American A 7.92 Specialist 6
Invesco India Equity A 7.57 Specialist 7
Threadneedle Latin American 7.56 Specialist 8
First State Indian Subcontinent 7.42 Specialist 9
Allianz Brazil A 7.13 Specialist 10

Top performing sectors in March 2014

IMA Sector % Rank
IMA Global Emerging Markets 1.80 1
IMA Global Emerging Markets Bond 1.47 2
IMA Asia Pacific Including Japan 1.07 3
IMA Asia Pacific Excluding Japan 0.85 4
IMA UK Index Linked Gilt 0.51 5
IMA Global Equity Income 0.43 6
IMA European Smaller Companies 0.22 7
IMA Europe Excluding UK 0.18 8
IMA Global Bonds -0.03 9
IMA Specialist -0.05 10

Source: Lipper, 28th February 2014 to 31st March 2014

Major equity markets in 1st quarter of 2014

Country Index % Rank
Greece FTSE Greece CR GBP 18.22 1
Portugal Portugal PSI General CR 14.90 2
Italy FTSE MIB TR 14.41 3
Denmark OMX Copenhagen 20 CR 14.06 4
Ireland ISEQ Overall CR 10.07 5
Belgium Bel 20 TR 7.18 6
Spain IBEX 35 TR 5.32 7
Luxemburg LuxX Index 5.21 8
Switerzland Swiss Market Index TR 5.08 9
Turkey FTSE Turkey TR 4.42 10

Source: Lipper, 31st December 2013 to 31st March 2014

Adrian Lowcock, senior investment manager, Hargreaves Lansdown says: “The wider Emerging Markets sector was the top performer in March as falls in Russian equities were more than compensated for by rises elsewhere.  Individual  country funds dominated the top performing funds in March, led by those worst hit in the sell-off in January. Whilst tapering in the US continues and concerns remain over the extent of the slow-down in China, emerging markets could remain volatile for some time.”

“Russian equities have been the worst performer in the first 3 months of the year as political tensions rose.  Japanese equities have also fallen so far this year, as investors have been increasingly concerned over the rise in sales tax announced last year. This comes into place today and  the last time the government increased the tax in 1997 consumer spending collapsed and economic recovery faltered. European equities were the best performing sector with the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) leading the way, as the recovery continues and expectations the European Central Bank will act to protect against deflation grow.”

“Telecoms and Technology was the worst performing sector. This may be down to some profit-taking as the sector has been a top performer prior to the sell-off.  Telecoms and technology companies continue to be in the headlines as a number of companies are on a spending spree. Last month Vodafone bought Spanish telecoms group Ono for €7.2bn, while Facebook spent $2bn on virtual technology company Oculus VR, having previously bought WhatsApp in February, for $19bn.”

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