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Technology sell-off spawns market volatility

Published October 2020

Market volatility returned in September as the US Technology sector led the sell-off that pushed the broader market lower.

Global shares closed the month almost 3% down and the Australian dollar also weakened against the US dollar.

Not immune to the global volatility, Australian shares were also pulled lower by the sell-off on Wall Street. The ASX 300 Index fell 3.6% with most sectors under pressure. The Energy sector took the largest hit, down more than 10% in September.

However, the decision by the US Federal Reserve and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to keep interest rates unchanged helped boost investor confidence. Markets welcomed the central banks’ commitment to keeping interest rates ‘lower for longer’.

Australian bonds outperformed their global counterparts with fixed income helping to off-set equity losses for those clients with diversified portfolios.

On a more positive note, the latest economic data from China showed economic activity and recovery may be inching closer to pre-COVID-19 levels. Industrial production and retail sales data posted healthy growth in September as people bought more cars, communication devices and home appliances.

Meanwhile, rising COVID-19 cases were reported in the US and parts of Europe. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cases worldwide surged past 30 million with over a million deaths at the end of September.

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