Market Pulse: End of March 2024 Roundup

March proved to be a strong month for equity markets, extending the positive momentum witnessed in February.

Volatility Continues to Fall: All major indices continued their upward trajectory, with broad-based gains across most sectors and volatility measures plumbing new lows.

The Only Way is Up: Global equities continued their upswing in March, rising 3.1% in USD terms, whilst government bonds were up 0.7% in USD terms.

Sector Standouts and Laggards

Energy Surges: The Energy sector emerged as the unexpected leader, surging by 7.8%. This dramatic rise can be attributed to a rebound in oil prices, driven by increased global demand and production cuts by major oil-producing nations.

Utilities Retreat:** The Utilities sector lagged behind, declining by 2.4%. As interest rates stabilised and inflation continued to show signs of cooling, the appeal of this traditionally defensive sector waned.

Geopolitical and Central Bank Updates

BoJ Twist: The Japanese Central Bank ended 8 years of negative interest rates, amid growing evidence of solid wage growth.

Swiss Surprise: The SNB were the first central bank to cut rates, reducing them by 0.25% to 1.25%.

Headlines and Market Movers

Biden-Trump Rematch Confirmed: The confirmation of a rematch between former President Donald Trump and incumbent President Joe Biden in the upcoming US Presidential election sparked some market volatility, but the overall impact was short-lived.

Strong UK Economic Data: Positive economic data releases from the UK saw GDP in line with expectations, yet manufacturing date in ‘expansion’ territory for the first quarter.

Commodities Rally: The surge in oil prices further lifted the broader commodities sector, as the supply outlook tightens, although Natural Gas, a very much localised market, saw heavy falls during the month.

Performance in Other Asset Classes

Fixed Income:Bond yields continued their modest rise but remained relatively low. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield ended March slightly above 4.2%.

Currencies: The U.S. Dollar weakened slightly against major currencies as investors sought riskier assets following positive economic data and central bank pronouncements.

Commodities: As mentioned previously, the commodities sector witnessed a significant rally, with both oil and agricultural prices experiencing strong gains.

Precious Metals: Gold prices saw an impressive advance during the month, rising 8.4% in their biggest monthly gain since July 2020.


We are finally seeing a broadening in the participation of sectors and asset classes as investors see little reason to doubt economic resilience, whilst many central banks are discussing easier monetary policy going forwards. That is to describe an ‘goldilocks’ environment where all asset classes can carry favour.

General disclosure:This material is intended for information purposes only, and does not constitute investment advice, a recommendation or an offer or solicitation to purchase or sell any specific investment product, strategy, plan feature or other purpose in any jurisdiction, nor is it a commitment from Aria Capital Management or any of its related companies to participate in any of the transactions mentioned herein. This material may contain estimates and forward-looking statements, which may include forecasts and do not represent a guarantee of future performance. This information is not intended to be complete or exhaustive and no representations or warranties, either express or implied, are made regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein. The opinions expressed are subject to change without notice. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the reader. Investing involves risks. Past performance does not guarantee future results. References to future returns are not promises or even estimates of actual returns a client portfolio may achieve. Any forecasts contained herein are for illustrative purposes only and are not to be relied upon as advice or interpreted as a recommendation.


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