What in the world is the sharemarket doing?
Most investors have more exposure to international stock markets than they think, especially via their superannuation funds. For the sake of your portfolio it’s worth keeping an eye on the performance of these markets.
It is no secret that the finance markets of the world are intrinsically connected, affecting each other’s values on a daily basis. Under-performance of the market in China can weigh heavily on certain stock values in Australia, for instance, and a recovery in Japan can boost the performance of the US market. So how have major markets performed over the last 12 months, and what does it mean for your own investment portfolio?
In 2013, the US S&P 500 posted a year of solid gains, up over 25%, which boosted confidence around the globe. After several years of struggles following the GFC, the world’s largest economy appeared, via the large companies’ index at least, to be showing solid signs of recovery and growth.
At the same time Japan’s Nikkei 225 also showed powerful, long-awaited signs of growth with a return of over 50% in the 12-month period. Much of this confidence and progress was put down to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s targeted and broadly publicised attack on the stagnation and deflation that had characterised the Japanese economy during several dark years.
While the US and Japan grew, China’s Shanghai Composite Index, a combination of all stocks on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, ended last year down just over 7%. Once again, politics played its hand as the nation’s new leadership announced a change of balance to begin curbing the nation’s debt levels.
Such movement on various national stock exchanges can and do influence values in our own market. With such a mix of news and influences, our own ASX 200 finished around 14% up in 2013, which was certainly a respectable result.
In addition, most of us have international share exposure through balanced superannuation fund investments, so overseas movements can directly affect the value of our own nest eggs. Changing attitudes to risk and debt in our large trade nations like China can have an effect on values within specific industries, such as mining. And rising confidence in Japan and the US can affect everything from the value of our currency, as investors once again buy into growth currencies, to the retail arena as our own growing confidence is reflected in our behaviour as consumers.
The most important message is to become familiar with the mix of investments within your portfolio in order to develop a better understanding of how international movements could affect financial markets. This knowledge then becomes one more tool in your financial toolbox to assist you in discussions with your financial adviser.
Leanne Rudd of The Money Edge is an Authorised Representative of Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, AFSL 227232, (Count) a wholly-owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.
This document has been prepared by Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, AFSL 227232, (Count) a wholly-owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. ‘Count’ and Count Wealth Accountants® are trading names of Count. Count advisers are authorised representatives of Count. Count is a Professional Partner of the Financial Planning Association of Australia Limited. Information in this document is based on current regulatory requirements and laws, which may be subject to change. While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Count, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document. This document is not advice and provides information only. It does not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial adviser before making a financial decision.