Bitcoin and S&P 500 Index hit record highs

16 April 2021
relevant to


The noise

  • This week proved to be positive for traditional and disruptive asset classes as both the S&P 500 Index and bitcoin hit records highs. At the time of writing on Friday, the S&P 500 was trading at an all-time high of 4,170 and bitcoin peaked at £46,212 on Tuesday, an all-time high.

  • After two decades of war in Afghanistan, Joe Biden has declared that US troops would be withdrawn from the country by September. There are currently 2,500 US troops in the country, compared with 100,000 in 2010. Biden’s declaration calls time on the longest war in US history.

  • The UK has passed 32 million first vaccinations, equal to the estimated number of people to whom the government promised to offer a jab by 15 April. The milestone came as second doses of the Covid-19 vaccines hit a daily record of 450,136, bringing the total with two jabs to 6,991,310 – more than 10 per cent of the population.

The numbers

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The nuance

It has been another strong week for markets with the S&P 500 Index (measuring the performance of the 500 largest listed US companies) hitting all-time highs against a backdrop of a surging bond market. Previous iterations of this publication have highlighted the trend of fairly rapidly and persistently rising bond yields over recent weeks; the pause in this dynamic this week has been slightly strange, especially given the strong print on US retail sales which was announced on Thursday.

Over coming weeks, this apparent strength across markets will once again be put the test as earnings season begins and companies start to report their recent performance to the market. As was the case back in January, many businesses which have rallied recently will be looking to prove they deserve their lofty valuations through strong earnings and optimistic outlooks.

The Cboe Volatility Index (more commonly referred to as the VIX) has been persistently trending downwards since March, reflecting expectations of lower volatility. Some questions remain over whether this is an indication of complacency in markets or simply a reflection of the highly accommodative economic and financial conditions which currently exist. As earnings season begins and the lid is lifted on recent corporate performance, we may receive some clarity on which is the dominant theme.

As you would expect, we will be spending coming weeks picking our way through corporate news flow, ensuring that each of our companies is delivering as expected against its investment case. Ultimately, many of these short-term concerns regarding volatility or the transitory fall in bond yields fade into the background as we adhere to our investment philosophy of owning great businesses with the ability to compound invested wealth over the long-term.

Quote of the week

“Mystery tree beast turns out to be croissant.” BBC News.

You would be forgiven for thinking that mistaken identity is a tired trope, but donut worry… okay that the last pun, we promise. As humans, we naturally want to see things out of the ordinary, even if they aren’t really there. In fact, entire industries have been built around this, just think of Big Foot, Nessie or Area 51. In any case, if you’re looking out your window this week and see anything out of the ordinary, please just check the bread bin before alerting the authorities. Source: bbc.co.uk
 

Phil Smeaton
Chief Investment Officer

All investment views are presented for information only and are not a personal recommendation to buy or sell. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns, investing involves risk and the value of investments, and the income from them, may fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the original amount invested.

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15 April 2021
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