Financial News 5th February 2024

Market overview
The FTSE/JSE All Share closed last week at 74 381.94, decreasing by 0.94%. The consumer staples and technology sectors increased by 1.79% and 0.93% during the week. The telecommunication and industrials sectors decreased by 6.68% and 4.52% during the same period.
Looking at the MSCI indices, developed markets increased by 0.99% during the previous week while emerging markets increased by 0.32% over the same period.

US rates remain unchanged
The US Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged at a 23-year high of 5.5% for the fourth consecutive meeting during their January 2024 meeting, in line with expectations. The Fed noted that they do not expect it will be appropriate to reduce the rates until they have gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward their 2% target.

Unemployment remains low in the US
The US economy added 353 000 jobs in January 2024, above market forecasts of 180 000. It is the biggest rise in employment in the past year, signalling that the labour market remains tight. In January 2024, the unemployment rate in the US remained at 3.7%, unchanged from the previous month and slightly below the market consensus of 3.8%.

Muted growth in Europe
The Euro Area economy grew by an annualised 0.1% during final quarter of 2023, beating forecasts of zero growth. France (0.7%) and Italy (0.5%) expanded and Spain (2%) and Portugal (2.2%) recorded the biggest growth rates. In contrast, the German economy shrank 0.2% and Ireland (-4.8%) recorded the strongest decline.

Thanks to PPS Investments for the Market Overview.

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