Fasten seatbelt for pre-election rollercoaster
In September 2020 the MSCI World Healthcare Net Return (NR) Index returned -1.4%. The MSCI World NR Index decreased by -3.5%. Healthcare extended its outperformance over global equities to 4.6% year-to-date. Over the month, global equities traded choppy. Besides COVID-19 newsflow, the approaching US elections brought some additional volatility to markets. The Healthcare sector, being one of the most politically sensitive sectors, with lot of debates around drug pricing and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is not new to such trading behaviour before of US elections (see “In the spotlight” on next page).
In April, Healthcare rebounded after a subdued Q1, with the MSCI World Healthcare NR Index gaining 3.8% during the month. The MSCI World NR Index increased 4.7%. Re-opening/cyclical sectors suffered a temporary sharp selloff during the month. 10-year Treasury yields also backed down (from a peak of 1.74% at March-end to 1.64% today), potentially indicating some risk that it is too early to sound the all-clear on COVID-19.
Global equity markets remained volatile throughout the month due to news surrounding re-opening of economies, upward moving Treasury rates, fears of new COVID-19 waves and political/medical interfering with AstraZeneca’s vaccine. The MSCI World Healthcare NR Index gained 2.5% in March, while the MSCI World NR Index rose 3.3.
The MSCI World Healthcare NR Index returned -2.7% in February, while the MSCI World NR Index rose 2.6%. During the last week of the month, many sectors took a hit because of rising 10-year Treasury rates (now at their highest levels in a year), enhancing on one hand the attractiveness of bonds vs. Equities and on the other hand propelling cyclical stocks.