ASX outperforms developed market peers

Australia is proving to be a bright spot amid global markets with the ASX 200 outperforming its developed markets peers so far this year.

While it had not seen positive performance, it was a better performer than its peers, losing 0.8% since the start of the year to 22 March.

The FTSE 100 had lost 2.7%, the S&P 500 had lost 8%, the Topix in Japan had lost 9% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong had lost 11.1%, according to data from FE Analytics.

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Earlier this week, Morgan Stanley said it expected Australia would be “well placed” for outperformance this year.

Performance of DM markets since start of 2022

A big contributor to this was the commodities and energy sector which had seen prices significantly increased by the war between Ukraine and Russia.

Since the start of the year, the ASX 200 Oil & Gas index had risen by 26% while the ASX 200 Energy index had risen by 25.8%.

Performance of energy and oil & gas indices since start of the year

In an update, Andrew Mitchell and Stephen Ng at Ophir Asset Management, said: “We are again in one of those periods where ‘big picture’ factors are driving markets and have been for a few months now, rather than ‘bottom-up’ factors, or underlying company fundamentals.

“Financials (and more specifically the big banks) are benefiting from funding costs remaining low, while banks are benefitting from a lot of businesses looking to borrow to expand amid strong economic activity.

“While some of the main commodity players are facing cost issues, particularly around labour, they have not had any trouble passing this on given the rude health of most commodity prices.”

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