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Astute Market Overview - 15th November 2023

Hello, and welcome to the latest Astute Market Overview.

Many key markets climbed higher over the period, as inflation and interest rates materialised as expected, and instead of focussing so much on this, markets can start focusing on the fundamentals of investments.

We’ve maintained that, when you drown out the market noise, the fundamentals in small and mid-sized companies (small and mid-cap investments) have been strong – and whilst we never know what will spark a market rally, or when, we are not surprised to see such strong growth in these areas, as the high inflation pessimism dissipates.

Looking at some key events, at the start of the month, the Federal Reserve voted to hold interest rates steady. At the same time, the Bank of England opted again to hold interest rates at 5.25%. Both decisions were the evidence needed to convince markets that rates may have reached their peak in the two regions. Following this, we had the release of UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The result was 0% growth, meaning that the UK has avoided a recession thus far, but instead, has sat stagnant.

And lastly, looking at inflation: US Consumer Prices Index (CPI) came in at 3.2%, and markets rejoiced again. 3.2% is a continued cooldown from 3.7% in September. Jerome Powell, the chair of the US Federal Reserve, still remains poised, and wanted to assure markets that he is on the ball, given that inflation has been delivering – to use his words – “a few head fakes”, originally coined in sport to explain using your head to deceive, perhaps making it look like you will pass or move in one way, but choosing the other.

And in the UK this week, the CPI reading fell markedly to 4.6% for October. Much of the heavy work here was done by energy prices; we have mentioned previously that the reduction in energy price cap for October has taken some of the steam out of the headline CPI number this time around. In the measure of CPI, the underlying category “electricity, gas and other fuels” decreased by 21.6%.

Coming up, in addition to data releases such as the US and UK retail sales and eurozone CPI, we’ll be watching and digesting the chancellors Autumn Statement next week, ready to report back with our thoughts.

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Autumn Statement 2023