Following strong market returns in 2013, there was widespread optimism regarding market sentiment for 2014.
The fourth quarter rounded 2013 off on a high, with many global equity markets posting impressive double-digit gains for the full year.
Looking ahead to the final quarter of the year, we expect to see continued progress in the markets, building on the consolidation of the last three months. As investor confidence returns, we should see demand increase for high quality UK stocks and selected funds, particularly those paying above average dividends by strong profitable companies.
The third quarter began with a strong start to July followed by a period of relative calm in which the FTSE-100 index of leading UK companies hovered around the 6,500 point mark. So, are we finally starting to see some welcome stability return to the markets?
The last three months can broadly be divided into two parts, a strong market rally in April and May, followed by a sharp sell-off in June. Despite high levels of volatility, markets enjoyed a strong start to the second quarter.
Markets have enjoyed a very good start to 2013 overall with strong returns in almost all global equity markets during the first three months of the year, albeit with continuing high levels of volatility.