The investment markets

The global financial markets have witnessed a dynamic and multifaceted landscape in recent times, shaped by a confluence of factors ranging from record-breaking performances of US indices due to the possibility of interest rate cuts and geopolitical uncertainties. Let's delve into each of these elements to understand their impact on the market dynamics.

New All-Time Highs for US Indices:

The first quarter of 2024 has been historic for US equity markets, with major indices like the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Composite reaching unprecedented heights. The S&P and Dow Jones achieved a total return of 10.44% and 5.98% respectively. Despite concerns surrounding inflation, investor sentiment remained buoyant, fuelled by potential interest rate cuts, better than expected economic data and optimism surrounding a soft landing for the US economy.

While the new all-time highs shows the resilience and optimism in the US equity markets, investors remained vigilant amid potential headwinds, including multiple geopolitical events.

On the Domestic front:

The South African market remained subdued in the first quarter of 2024, the FTSE/JSE All Share index returned a negative 2.25% as investors remain uncertain on where the country is headed. The upcoming elections in May, load shedding and the Transnet issues have kept investors away until more certainty can be provided.

Potential for Interest Rate Cuts:

Amid the backdrop of stabilising inflationary pressures, there has been growing speculation about the possibility of interest rate cuts by central banks, particularly the US Federal Reserve. While the Fed has adopted a wait and see approach, the market sentiment has been somewhat divided.

Some investors anticipate that the Fed may pivot towards a more dovish stance if economic data shows signs of weakening or if inflationary pressures subside. The potential for interest rate cuts has influenced market expectations and asset allocation strategies, particularly in fixed income markets where bond yields have been sensitive to shifts in monetary policy outlook.

However, the timing and magnitude of any potential rate cuts remain uncertain, contingent upon evolving economic conditions and inflation dynamics.

Global Events:

Geopolitical tensions have emerged as a significant driver of market uncertainty during the first quarter of 2024. Events such as the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel have kept investors on edge, impacting risk appetite and asset prices.

The international landscape has also influenced the commodity markets, with fluctuations in oil prices driven by supply disruptions and risks in key producing regions. Moreover, trade tensions have implications for global supply chains, corporate earnings, and investor sentiment.

As tensions continue to evolve, investors are closely monitoring developments and assessing their potential impact on market fundamentals and risk factors.


The first quarter of 2024 has been characterized by a mix of optimism and uncertainty in the financial markets. As investors navigate these challenges, staying attuned to economic data, central bank policies, and geopolitical developments will be paramount in managing risk and capitalizing on opportunities in the ever-evolving financial landscape.

Domestic (rand-denominated) fund returns