While many equity investors were probably happy to see January in the rearview mirror, the results for the first week of February weren’t much better.
A huge rally last Friday kicked off by the Bank of Japan’s surprise decision to cut interest rates to below zero was enough to boost most major global averages into the green last week but not nearly enough for investors to forget one of the worst monthly starts to a year on record.
Thanks largely to promises of new stimulus measures by the European Central Bank and higher oil prices, U.S. stocks had their first winning week since before Christmas.
The global slump in equities continued into its second week of the year, led by sharp drops in Chinese stocks and oil prices.
Global stocks got off to one of their worst starts ever last week, with equity prices down sharply across the board, ranging from double-digit losses in China to 6-7% losses in most of the rest of the world.
Following their third weekly loss in the past four weeks, U.S. stocks finished December in the red, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both ending in negative territory for the full year in price terms.
Investors got into the Christmas spirit last week, bidding up the prices of U.S. stocks to their best week in over a month.