UK drives European equity return for February

UK equitiesThe UK was the greatest contributor to the 2.89% total return from European equities in February, as measured by the S&P Europe 350 Index.

With a return of 1.04%, the UK beat returns from Switzerland and Germany, who were in second and third place respectively with 0.49% and 0.35% returns.

Norway was the only European economy to not deliver a positive return, said S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&PDJI).

Tim Edwards, senior director of index investment strategy at S&PDJI, said the return from the index “defied logic” given political uncertainty in Europe.

He said the upcoming French and Dutch elections, together with the potential start of Brexit negotiations, would make it “intriguing to see whether the equity markets’ positive performance will continue”.

Virtually all underlying indices for Europe were positive last month, with momentum investors emerging as the “ultimate” winners as they gained a 6.52% return from S&PDJI’s Europe 350 Momentum Index.

Healthcare, consumer staples and IT were the best sector performers. Just two sectors recorded losses: energy and financials.

But Edwards added: “Reading between the lines there are some signs of nervousness: defensive sectors, and defensive strategies, largely outperformed their peers.”

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