December saw an unexpectedly bullish end to a year where equity performance exceeded even the most optimistic of expectations. After a volatile start to Q4, over 4% of the S&P 500's +25% gains on the year came in Dec. The positive sentiment was reflected across almost all global equity markets with Mexico leading the way - gaining 7% in local currency terms. The FX markets was sanguine as well with volatility falling across the board and the US dollar traded softer during the month.
On the fixed income side, govt debt yields continued to gain as inflation prints across developed markets showed no signs of slowing down. The biggest repricing happened in European govt debt as the market built up expectations for the ECB to start hiking in 2022. The Fed is expected to have four 25 bps hikes by the end of 2022 and a growing number of market participants and economists have started nudging the Fed to do more to combat inflation prints at multi-decade highs.
The Energy sector had an unexpectedly subdued month with US names gaining about 1.6% on the month (2021 gains were over 45%) as Crude and Natural Gas diverged. Crude starting rallying again after an earlier selloff to close the month up 14% while tensions easing around Ukraine saw Natural gas dip 17% on the month. Commodities managed to latch onto the Santa rally too but Crypto saw a significant decline to close out the year.
We have already seen significant moves and noticeable themes in 2022 but 2021 will likely go down as one of the better years for investors across the globe.
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January 24, 2022
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