20 October Weekly Market Recap

5 min read     I     Date: 23 October 2023

Market Data

Asset Class Curr1-wk1-mthYTD2022

MSCI World USD-2.5%-4.9%7.2%-19.5%
S&P 500 USD-2.4%-4.0%10.0%-19.4%
Nasdaq USD-2.9%-2.7%33.1%-33.0%
Stoxx 600-Europe EUR-3.4%-5.8%2.1%-12.9%
MSCI Asia Pac ex-Japan USD-2.8%-4.4%-5.3%-19.7%
ASEAN USD-3.0%-4.6%-6.6%2.4%
Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index CNY-4.2%-5.3%-9.3%-21.6%
Hang Seng Index HKD-3.6%-4.0%-13.2%-15.5%
Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index CNY-3.4%-4.0%-3.4%-15.1%
FBMKLCI MYR-0.2%-0.7%-3.6%-4.6%

Fixed Income
Bberg Barclays Global Agg Index USD-1.0%-2.7%-3.5%-16.2%
JPM Asia Credit Index-Core USD-1.1%-2.2%1.3%-13.0%
Asia Dollar Index USD-0.2%-0.8%-4.7%-6.9%

Top Performing Principal Funds
(1 month return as of 30 September 2023)
Principal Islamic Enhanced Opportunities Fund  -0.8%0.9%4.8%-15.8%
Principal DALI Equity Growth Fund  -0.8%0.3%0.6%-9.5%
Principal Small Cap Opportunities Fund  -0.8%0.6%7.3%-13.3%
Fixed Income      
Principal Islamic Money Market Fund - Class AI  -0.1%0.1%0.8%0.1%
Principal Money Market Income Fund - Class AI  0.0%0.3%0.6%0.9%
Principal Islamic Lifetime Enhanced Sukuk Fund  0.2%0.4%1.7%-6.4%


Source: Bloomberg, market data is as of 20 October 2023.
*As we emphasise a long-term focus, the top performing funds were selected based on their monthly performance.
*The numbers may show as negative if there is no positive return for the period under review.
*Past performance is not an indication of future performance.                 

Market Review1

  1. The global financial markets closed the week on a weak note, with the majority of the markets in the red. Among the developed markets, Japan experienced the largest decline, followed by Europe and the United States (US).
  2. Across Asia, the markets delivered negative returns throughout the week. China's onshore and offshore market experienced the largest decline, followed by Korea and Taiwan.
  3. In Malaysia, the FBMKLCI in Malaysia ended the week on a negative note driven by ongoing cautious sentiment within the regional economy. 
  4. In the bond market, the price of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note closed negatively, with yield nearly touched 5% during intraday trading at the end of the week. This was driven by heavy primary issuance alongside concerns that rates will remain higher for longer. (Bond prices move in the opposite direction of bond yields)

Macro Factors

  1. In the US, Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments indicated a cautious approach to policy decision based on incoming data, the evolving outlook, and the balance of risks. Weekly jobless claims fell below 200,000 for the first time since January. September industrial production increased by 0.3% while housing sector exceeded expectation but building permits, a more forward-looking gauge, fell 4.4% in the month, the sharpest decline in 10 months.2
  2. In Europe, the committees from the Europe Central Bank expressed concerns about inflation risk due to rising oil prices from the conflict in the Middle East. Meanwhile, inflation in the United Kingdom (UK) held steady at an annual rate of 6.7% in September driven by higher gasoline prices. Services inflation accelerated to 6.9%.3
  3. In China, Country Garden, formerly China’s largest property developer, announced its inability to meet all offshore debt payments after it received a 30-day grace period in August. Meanwhile, China’s economy expanded 4.9% in the third quarter over a year earlier, surpassing expectation. Other data showed that parts of China’s economy may be stabilising. Retail sales rose 5.5% in September from a year earlier, Industrial production growth remained unchanged from August, and urban unemployment slightly decreased.4

Investment Strategy5

Our current stance is neutral on both equity and fixed income, with a preference for income-focused funds. Our strategy emphasises quality, growth, and income in stocks and credits. We are exercising caution with USD assets and believe that Asian equities and fixed income present more value in the short term.

  1. We find bonds appealing as we perceive a higher likelihood that central bank hiking cycle will end soon. We also see potential for capital gains in the event of weaker economic growth. Therefore, we maintain our preference for investment grade bonds with longer durations as our preferred investment choice. For Malaysia, the projected improvement to the budget deficit, provided in the Budget 2024, improved the outlook for domestic bonds.
  2. On equities, we prefer quality and dividend-paying stocks for their defensive characteristics, which can provide resilience in the face of uncertain macroeconomic and geopolitical conditions. Our positive outlook is focused on Asia and includes strategic positions in various areas: a) the bottoming tech hardware cycle, b) long-term growth potential driven by low penetration rates (such as India), c) recovery plays and structural themes in ASEAN, d) selective sectors benefiting from China's reopening, and e) Malaysia's growing optimism due to political stability and gains from the New Energy Transition Roadmap, the New Industrial Master Plan 2030 and projected improvement to the budget deficit detailed in the Budget 2024.
  3. We also favour income-focused approach to ride out volatilities arising from geopolitical tensions, inflationary issues, and recessionary concerns.



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1 Bloomberg, 20 October 2023 
2 Bloomberg, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), S&P Global, US Federal Board, 20 October 2023
3 S&P Global, ECB, Factset, Bank of England (BoE), 20 October 2023
4 Bloomberg, National Bureau of Statistic China, 20 October 2023
5 Principal view, 20 October 2023


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Disclaimer: We have based this document on information obtained from sources we believe to be reliable, but we do not make any representation or warranty nor accept any responsibility or liability as to its accuracy, completeness, or correctness. Expressions of opinion contained herein are those of Principal Asset Management Berhad only and are subject to change without notice. This document should not be construed as an offer or a solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe or sell Principal Asset Management Berhad’s investment products. The data presented is for information purposes only and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities or adopt any investment strategy. This material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research, or investment advice regarding a particular investment or the markets in general, nor is it intended to predict or depict performance of any investment. We recommend that investors read and understand the contents of the funds’ prospectus and product highlights sheet available on the Principal website, which have been duly registered with the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC). Registration of these documents does not amount to nor indicate that the SC has recommended or endorsed the product or service. There are risks, fees and charges involved in investing in the funds. You should understand the risks involved, compare, and consider the fees, charges and costs involved, make your own risk assessment and seek professional advice, where necessary. This article has not been reviewed by the SC.