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5 mins
Stock markets and the economy

Publié le Mis à jour le

February 2024 – All-time highs

The global equity markets extended their year-to-date gains in February. Once again, they benefited from factors such as the resilient U.S. economy and the hype surrounding artificial intelligence. In addition, emerging markets made up for their January deficit thanks to the rally in Chinese equities.

Férique
Closing
29-02-24
Variation vs
31-01-23
Variation vs
31-12-23
Interest rate in Canada (%)
Key rate
Key rate 5.00 0.00 0.00
Commodities ($US)
Oil (WTI)
Oil (WTI) $79.22 3.9% 10.2%
Currencies
EUR/CAD
EUR/CAD 1.47 1.0% 0.4%
JPY/CAD
JPY/CAD 0.01 -0.8% -3.2%
USD/CAD
USD/CAD 1.36 1.3% 2.6%

Sources: Bank of Canada, U.S. Energy Information Administration

CANADIAN MARKET

1.8% (S&P/TSX Composite 29-02-2024)

The S&P/TSX Composite Index ended the month with a return of 1.8%. From a sector standpoint, the results were relatively mixed. Industrials and financials were the main contributors to the return, while materials and information technology detracted the most. 

The Canadian bond market ended February with a slightly negative result as investors kept trying to anticipate the timing and magnitude of rate cuts by the Bank of Canada and the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2024. The FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index returned -0.3%.

AMERICAN MARKET

6.9% (S&P 500 29-02-2024 in CAD)

The U.S. stock market had another positive month, thanks in part to the record results of chipmaker Nvidia in the information technology sector. The company’s performance far exceeded investor expectations, reigniting an across-the-board rally. Toward the end of the month, encouraging inflation data in the United States also contributed to the uptrend. The S&P 500 Index posted its best February in almost a decade; it reached a new peak for the second consecutive month, returning 5.3% in U.S. dollars and 6.9% in Canadian currency. All sectors, without exception, recorded gains.

EUROPEAN MARKET

3.1% (MSCI Europe 29-02-2024 in CAD)

The MSCI Europe Index ended the month with a return of 2.4% in local currencies and 3.1% in Canadian dollars. With investors’ outlook on Germany improving for the seventh month in a row, the market beat expectations, offering hope that the worst may be over for Europe’s largest economy. Moreover, price growth continued to slow in Europe. Even so, European Central Bank officials remain cautious; they stressed the need for additional evidence that inflation has returned to their 2% target before they can consider an interest rate cut.  Most sectors posted gains. The main contributors were industrials, consumer discretionary and information technology, while utilities and consumer staples were the biggest detractors.

ASIAN MARKET

5.6% (MSCI AC Asia-Pacific 29-02-2024 in CAD)

The Asian markets benefited from the rally in Chinese equities early in the month. Chinese stocks recorded a sharp rise after the authorities signalled their determination to support the country’s equity market. The rally came after a historic rout in Chinese equities in recent months amid the uncertainty surrounding the country’s economy and the lack of strong stimulus from the government. The benchmark MSCI All Country Asia Pacific Index returned 5.1% in local currencies and 5.6% in Canadian dollars. All sectors posted gains with the exception of materials. 

EMERGING MARKETS

6.4% (MSCI Emerging Markets 29-02-2024 in CAD)

Emerging markets also benefited greatly from the strong performance by the Chinese stock market. The benchmark MSCI Emerging Markets Index returned 5.1% in local currencies and 6.4% in Canadian dollars. From the regional standpoint, China, Taiwan and South Korea contributed the most to the result. All sectors posted gains, led by information technology and consumer discretionary.

Reading in progress:February 2024 – All-time highs

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