Charles-Henry Monchau

Chief Investment Officer




It was another volatile week with US stocks ending lower as investors continued to weigh developments in the Russia-Ukraine war. Tech, financials, consumer discretionary, and communication services sectors dragged the S&P 500 lower. The energy sector performed best, as oil prices soared as nearly USD 120 per barrel on Thursday before news of a possible Iran nuclear deal caused them to retreat a bit. The VIX index reached its highest point in over a year. The ruble plunged on international currency markets despite the Russian Central Bank’s move to raise the policy rate from 9.5% to 20%. The ruble continued to move lower throughout most of the week, pushing its value under USD 0.01, a record low. The risk-off environment due to the Ukraine crisis and Powell’s comments pushed the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note to its lowest intraday level in two months. Credit spreads widened. Shares in Europe fell sharply, as investors weighed the possible implications of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The pan-European STOXX Europe 600 Index lost 7% over the week. Chinese markets retreated as the war in Ukraine and disappointing economic data dampened risk appetite. On the monetary policy front, Fed Chair Powell also said that he was inclined to stick with a 25 basis points increase in the Fed funds rate in March, dispelling fears of a 50-basis-point increase. ECB officials signal cautious stance while eurozone inflation hits record level. Dollar soared while eur/chf came closer to parity.



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