Stocks staged a modest rebound on Monday as traders put aside concerns about interest rate rises and the crisis in Ukraine to dip back in, but global equities are still headed for their worst January since 2016 after a bruising month.
The rise in European shares follows a late surge on Wall Street on Friday after a series of forecast-beating company earnings, including from tech giant Apple, helped stabilise investor sentiment after a series of volatile sessions.
Still, investors say the backdrop for equities remains uncertain as central banks tighten policy — the Bank of England is expected to hike rates again on Thursday — and another jolt higher in oil prices adds to inflationary worries.
By 1115 GMT, the Euro STOXX had gained 0.62%, the German DAX 0.64% and Britain’s FTSE 100 0.1%.
Lunar New Year holidays made for thin trading conditions in Asia. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed up 0.68%.
S&P 500 futures pointed to a lower open while Nasdaq futures climbed 0.4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has borne the brunt of selling and is down 14% from a record peak last year.
The MSCI World index, while higher on Monday, remains down 6.2% in January – the worst start to the year since 2016. Before Friday’s rebound the index was headed for its worst January since the global financial crisis in 2008.
“This is not the classic selloff affecting lower quality underperforming companies. This selloff is driven not by fundamentals but by the action of central banks at a time when growth is very strong,” said Flavio Carpenzano, Investment Director, Capital One Group.
“For years you were like a spoiled child, you could get all the money you wanted and for free and you could buy what you wanted, you didn’t care that much about quality. Now it is the other way round, you have to be more disciplined so you need to look carefully at valuation.”
The standoff over Ukraine also remains a thorn in the markets’ side, with concerns a Russian invasion would cut vital gas supplies to Western Europe. Moscow denies any plan to invade.
Oil prices reached new seven-year peaks on Friday, having climbed for six weeks straight as the political tension in Ukraine exacerbated concerns over tight energy supply.