Everyone knows this process: As the year comes to an end, thoughts of how to celebrate New Year's Eve become more and more urgent. Regardless of whether you are a host or a guest, experience shows: the higher the expectations of a party, the more disappointing it often is and vice versa. A similar phenomenon can be observed on the financial markets: Which investor doesn't secretly hope for a year-end rally that, at best, extends well into January? This year, however, was a little different. After an overall strong year with the usual corrections, the stock markets already experienced an anticipated year-end rally in November. Investors who were more cautious heading into the new year were caught off guard.
In December, both the stock and bond markets were in good spirits and in a party mood. Driven by the boom in artificial intelligence, aggressive positioning and the “fear of missing out,” the MSCI USA rose +4.4% and the MSCI Europe rose +3.6% in December. Meanwhile, Asian markets were weaker: Japan's MSCI contained losses at -0.6%, while China's MSCI fell -2.6%. European corporate bonds (MSCI EUR IG Corporate Bond Index) performed well at +2.3%, while their American counterparts (MSCI US IG Corporate Bond Index) even performed excellently at +4.1%.
Despite challenging market conditions, our active investment concept outperformed the peer group (fig. 1) and particularly passive, balanced multi-asset ETFs over the past 18 months and especially since the beginning of the year.
Percentile rank* for fund peer group** in %
|BlackPoint Evolution Fund D
|Source: Morningstar, 12/31/2023 | Due to longest history and largest volume, we are showing data for share class D
* For example, a percentile ranking of 20 means that 80% of the funds in the peer group underperformed and 20% performed equal to or better than the BlackPoint Evolution Fund D.
** EAA Fund EUR Moderate Allocation - Global
Our equity portfolio also posted positive returns in December. Some dynamic growth companies, most notably Upstart and Dutch Bros, topped the list of winners alongside titles with a strong connection to China such as Estée Lauder and Daqo. However, companies such as Lemonade and Crispr, which suffered from profit-taking, suffered losses. European stocks such as SAP, Novo Nordisk and Allianz were purchased, while we carried out partial sales of Microsoft and Apple.
The bond portfolio also achieved strong growth in value, with positions with longer maturities and higher risk premiums once again increasing. Short-term government bonds continued to face weaker demand. We expanded the portfolio to include long-term French government bonds.
After a positive overall year in 2023, but ongoing macro risks, we are starting the new year with a prudent portfolio orientation.
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