24 February 2023 Weekly Market Recap

5 min read     I     Date:27 February 2023

Market Data

Asset Class   Curr 1-wk 1-mth YTD 2022

MSCI World   USD -2.6% -1.8% 6.8% -19.5%
S&P 500   USD -2.7% -1.2% 6.2% -19.4%
Nasdaq   USD -3.1% 1.0% 13.0% -33.0%
Stoxx 600-Europe   EUR -1.4% 1.0% 9.3% -12.9%
MSCI Asia Pac ex-Japan   USD -2.6% -6.5% 4.8% -19.7%
ASEAN   USD -2.1% -4.2% -0.8% 2.4%
Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index   CNY 0.7% -2.9% 4.9% -21.6%
Hang Seng Index   HKD -3.4% -9.2% 1.2% -15.5%
Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index   CNY 1.3% 0.1% 5.8% -15.1%
FBMKLCI   MYR -1.4% -2.9% -2.6% -4.6%

Fixed Income
Bberg Barclays Global Agg Index   USD -1.2 -3.8% -0.4% -16.2%
JPM Asia Credit Index-Core   USD -0.1% -1.6% 1.8% -13.0%
Asia Dollar Index   USD -1.0% -2.7% -0.9% -6.4%
Malaysia Corporate Bond Index   MYR 0.1% 0.0% 2.0% 1.5%

Top Performing Principal Funds

Principal China Direct Opportunities MYR   MYR 1.6% 4.4% 10.6% -20.8%
Principal Commodity USD   USD -0.2% -5.1% -5.5% n.a.

Fixed Income
Principal Lifetime Enhances Bond   MYR 0.1% 0.3% 0.4% -4.1%


Source: Bloomberg, market data is as of 24 February 2023
*Top performing funds were based on weekly performance.
*Past performance is not an indication of future performance.

Market Review1

  1. The financial markets posted negative returns over the week driven by uncertainties around inflation and renewed expectation that interest rate would trend higher. In Developed Markets, the United States (U.S.), Europe, and Japan markets ended lower for the week.
  2. In Asia, the equity market’s returns were mixed for the week, with Chinese stocks rebounding after three weeks of losses as hopes for stepped-up regulatory support offset concerns about elevated U.S. tensions.
  3. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) closed lower for the week as the government unveiled an expansionary Budget worth RM386.1 billion and pledged support to steer the economy on Friday. 
  4. Over the week, the value of global bonds went down, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rising nearing 4.00% for the first time since mid-November as investors digest the recent resilient labour and inflation data. The developments appear to suggest the resumption of aggressive interest rate policy (Note: Bond prices and yields generally move in opposite directions).

Macro Factors

  1. In the U.S., the Commerce Department reported the core personal consumption expenditures (less food and energy) price index jumped 0.6% in January, above the expectations of an increase of 0.4% and it was the biggest rise since August. This sparked concerns that inflation might have reversed course which may lead to more interest rate hikes.2
  2. In Europe, inflation eased in January to an annual rate of 8.6% from 9.2% the previous month. The lower inflation ignites expectations that the Bank of England might opt for a smaller interest rate hike in March or skip one altogether.3
  3. In China, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) left its benchmark one-year and five-year loan prime rates unchanged for the sixth consecutive month as the recovery in economic growth appeared to dampen the need to further loosen monetary policy. In other news, China’s securities regulator published new rules to revive offshore initial product offerings following a regulatory freeze that began in July 2021.4

Investment Strategy5

      Overall, the path ahead may still be volatile in the form of central bank tightening, persistent inflation, and economic slowdown.   However, we believe markets over time will be stabilised and positioned for a more sustainable recovery. Our broad strategy continues to favour selective approaches, and focus on the themes of Quality Growth, Income and Sustainability.

  1. On equities, we prefer quality factors as the macro and geopolitical backdrop remain uncertain. We are positive on Asia as sector earnings are poised to be rerated supported by China’s rapid reopening.
  2. On Fixed Income, our preference remains on investment grade and that of longer duration. As we foresee volatility to stay elevated, we are keeping a bias for higher quality credit. We like bonds with an investment grade rating, ideally in the AA or A, and which could operate in a business that is somewhat immune to the economic cycle.
  3. For medium to long-term exposure, we prefer assets that offer structural opportunities. The shift towards energy, environmental, food, and technological security are likely to be among the key long-term growth drivers in the years to come.


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1Bloomberg, 24 February 2023
2US Department of Commerce, 24 February 2023
3European Central Bank (ECB), 24 February 2023
4PBOC, 24 February 2023
5Principal view, 24 February 2023


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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.