March Review 2024


Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s UK Spring Budget was announced on the 6th of March. His first sound of the economic drum was well received by markets despite being initially at odds with the OBR over fiscal capacity. The UK’s recession appears to have been as shallow as hoped and activity has regained some momentum in Q1 2024.

Following a better-than-expected inflation reading of 3.4% for the month of February vs. the 3.5% predicted, we saw the FTSE100 rally above the 7900 mark during the month of March – closing up over 140 points in a single day, its best performance since 2022.

Early signs of an Easter rally were warmly accepted, as were Andrew Bailey’s words on the state of the UK economy. There was a notable change amongst the Monetary Policy Committee, with no hawks remaining at the latest vote.

The Bank of England plans to sell £8bn of Gilts in Q2 2024 from their balance sheet, evenly split across maturities. A recent strong 20-year Gilt auction underlined the continued investor appetite for sovereign risk.

US markets remained on track, with the S&P 500 climbing just over 2% in March. (Continuing on this current trajectory would match or surpass last year’s +25% gain).

The Fed opted to hold rates steady at the current range of 5.25% to 5.5%; it re-emphasised its commitment to bring inflation down to the 2% mark following February’s surprise, much hotter-than-expected non-farm payroll figures and higher-than-expected inflation data.

We saw large equity sales from well-known tech-company CEOs and a redistribution of capital across various asset classes, with many top analysts referring to an ‘almost everything rally’.

  • Brent Crude breached the $80 mark.
  • The value of gold rose by +7.49%
  • Prices for cocoa reached all-time highs.


Moving into Q2 the following themes may be on many investors’ radars:

  • A shift to value and smaller-cap equities which have lagged behind the magnificent seven tech stocks.
  • Continued investment in generative AI.
  • Rate-cuts expected to begin from The Bank of England and the European Central Bank
  • A further rally in gold prices ahead of summer rate-cuts as investors wary of prolonged price rises seek a hedge against inflation.
  • Increased weighting in the defence sector following the rise in global conflict.

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