Market & Portfolio Update - March 2021

5 April by Lifetime in Market Update

Market & Portfolio Update - March 2021

For The Financial Year Ended 31 March 2021

The March market update reflects a theme of ongoing strength in global sharemarkets, but weakness in assets whose value is mainly driven by changes in long-term interest rates. Overall returns for the year ended March have been very strong, despite some recent drag on portfolios with high allocations to fixed interest securities (bonds). These have seen some weakness as long-term interest rates have risen, and a little softness in NZ shares lately.

The first quarter also saw the anniversary of the fastest market correction ever seen - during February and March 2020. The subsequent 12-month returns for many asset classes reflect the sharp recovery from those lows, providing a vivid reminder of the merits for a disciplined long-term investment approach.

Central banks and governments are committed to continuing their support for the global economic recovery for some time, thereby keeping short-term interest rates very low and fiscal policies expansionary. This provides investors with both unprecedented challenges and opportunities, “the risk is to search for yield in all the wrong places”. Financial research company DALBAR, has attempted to quantify the effects of poor behavior on investors’ long-term returns. According to their 2016 study, the average individual investor underperformed the broad share market by 2.89% over the past 20 years. The lesson of course is to work with an Adviser who understands your goals and can keep you on track.

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One of the most persistent debates in the investment industry is whether investors are better to use passive or active managed funds. With strong advocates on both sides of this debate, it may seem like an obscure discussion. However, for investors, long term performance data tells a conspicuous story.

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Global share markets moved slightly higher during the month, driven by continued job growth in the United States, and business sentiment surveys remaining elevated.