Global Market Update: Q1 2019 Gains Not Seen in Years

Updated: February 21, 2021

The first quarter of 2019 is behind us and the results are slowly coming out. From the looks of it, investors could not have asked for a better start to the year.

The Q1 results come on the back of a disastrous Q4 of 2018 that witnessed the escalating US-China Trade War, slowing global growth, and a hawkish Federal Reserve.

This year, however, investors have something to rejoice for. China’s Q1 numbers came in strong beating expectations and the optimism surrounding US-China trade war suggesting an end in sight have led to one of the best Q1 results in years.

What happened in Q1 2019?

Crude oil prices have been on the rise since the start of 2019, a consequence of OPEC and Russia’s decision to cut output for the first half of the year, a fresh round of US sanctions against Venezuela and optimism on a breakthrough in the trade war talks, propelling US Brent Oil Fund BNO 24.6% and US Oil Fund USO 27.7%.

The S&P 500 hit a near six-month high to close its best quarter in over two decades, the last time being 1998. The Dow Jones Industrial Average witnessed its largest gains since 2013 and the NASDAQ-100, since 2012.

Tech stocks had a particularly good Q1 amassing substantial gains with FAANG registering double-digit growth figures: Facebook rose 27.16%, Apple rose 20.94%, Amazon rose 18.56 %, Netflix rose 33.21% and Google (Alphabet) rose 13.3%. Microsoft stock also reached its fresh all-time high along with other companies such as Starbucks and P&G.

Dovish central banks in most developed economies also kept the international markets quite upbeat in the first quarter. MSCI EAFE ETF added 10.6% in the first quarter, MSCI EEM added about 9.3% while MSCI ACWI jumped 12.5%. Asia50 ETF added another 10% while MSCI Eurozone advanced 13.2%.

Even in a bearish crypto market, the market cap rose 17% with several cryptocurrencies managed to post significant gains, including Binance Coin (BNB) that rose 202% in the first quarter.

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Disclosure: This article is written in partnership with eToro.

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