Financial News 19th February 2024

Market overview
The FTSE/JSE All Share closed last week at 73 616.06, increasing by 0.26%. The health care and basic materials sectors increased by 2.81% and 2.51% respectively during the week. The technology and consumer staples sectors decreased by 3.24% and 1.70% during the same period.
Looking at the MSCI indices, developed markets increased by 0.16% during the previous week while emerging markets increased by 2.11% over the same period.

US inflation lower, but still sticky
The annual inflation rate in the US fell back to 3.1% in January 2024 following a brief increase to 3.4% in December but came higher than forecasts of 2.9%. Compared to the previous month, the CPI edged up 0.3%, the most in four months, and above forecasts of 0.2%. Annual core inflation held steady at 3.9%, compared to expectations it would slow to 3.7%. The monthly rate edged up to 0.4%.

UK slips into recession
Initial figures are showing that the UK slipped into a technical recession in the final quarter of 2023. 
All three main sectors of the UK economy contracted in the fourth quarter, with declines of 0.2% in services, 1% in production and 1.3% in construction output. For the whole of 2023, the UK economy grew by 0.1%.

Thanks to PPS Investments for the Market Overview.

South African rand firms as markets await budget speech
The South African rand firmed in early trade on Monday as investors awaited the finance minister’s budget speech on Wednesday. Read the full report from here>

South Africa’s new two-pot retirement system – the crucial points you need to know
Financial services group Alexforbes has thrown its weight behind the country’s new two-pot retirement system, citing that the system set to be implemented at the beginning of September could result in better retirement outcomes for members. Read the full Businesstech article here>

Asian stocks battle as hope of early US rate cut fades
Asian shares struggled to make much ground on Monday as fading chances for early rate cuts globally soured the mood and Chinese markets returned from holiday with only muted gains. Read the full Business Day article here>

Top 5 things to watch in markets in the week ahead
In the holiday shortened week ahead investors will be looking to the latest Federal Reserve minutes for any new insights on the direction of monetary policy. Here’s what you need to know to start your week. Read the full article here>

Major petrol price storm about to hit South Africa
South African consumers are heading into a fuel price storm, with a petrol and diesel hike coming in March, possible fuel tax hikes in April, and the wider impact on transport, shelf prices and inflation likely to be felt in the months that follow. Read the full Businesstech article here>

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