Market news for February 2019
UK news continues to focus on Brexit as we approach 29 March, which is the date we are due to leave the European Union. Fortunately, the rest of the world continues largely unaffected. Despite the reportedly failed summit meeting between the United States (US) and North Korea, there is hope in the trade war between the US and China and the Federal Reserve has adopted a more dovish tone on US interest rate policy.
The FTSE 100 closed February at 7,074.73, which was 1.5% higher than the January closing level and is now over 5% up on the 2018 year end level. Over in the US, the Dow Jones 30 has had an even stronger start to 2019, up 11.1% in the first two months of the year.
Other global equity markets have performed similarly well as follows:
|February 2019||2019 year to date
(to end of February)
|S&P 500 (US)||+3.0%||+11.1%|
|Euro Stoxx 50 (Europe)||+4.4%||+9.9%|
|Nikkei 225 (Japan)||+2.9%||+6.8%|
In terms of currency, £ Sterling ended February at 1.33 US Dollars. This was 1.2% higher than the closing figure at the end of January.
Likewise, against the Euro, £ Sterling ended January at 1.17 Euros, which was 1.8% higher than the January closing figure.
Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH), was 1.8% in January 2019 (this is January’s data which is reported in February). This was down from 2.0% in December 2018. The 12-month rate for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate which excludes owner occupied housing costs and council tax was 1.8% in January 2019, which was down from 2.1% in December 2018.
The Bank of England maintained interest rates at 0.75% in February following the increase in August last year.