Market Update

Market update: Markets grind higher in quiet trading week

By Business & Finance
12 February 2024
Digital stock market display showing a mix of red and green numbers

It was a relatively quiet week in the markets, with activity across the main asset classes remaining muted, writes Ian Slattery.

Ian Slattery, Zurich Investments

The lack of macro data releases meant there was little new developments to trigger material moves in markets. The S&P 500 Index finished above 5,000 for the first time ever on Friday as investors continue to bet on the resilience of the US economy, with unemployment low, inflation largely under control, and the Federal Reserve’s fabled ‘soft landing’ very much in sight. 

The S&P is up about 5.4% so far this year, and has set six new highs in January, with most of the gains coming from the Magnificent Seven. However, on a more cautionary note, the equal weighted version of the index has barely moved and remains below all time highs set in 2021.

In the eurozone, retail sales fell by 1.1% in December. Following the November growth of 0.3%, the December figure is disappointing, suggesting Europeans are feeling the cost-of-living pinch. The fall was larger than the consensus forecast of – 0.8%. These results arrive against a backdrop of cooling but persistent inflationary pressures. Inflation for the whole euro area slowed to 2.8% in January. 

Germany showed a sharp slowdown in retail sales with a 1.6% decline. With Germany being the largest economy in the eurozone it wields a significant influence on the single currency bloc’s overall inflation. Headline German CPI came in at 2.9% YoY in January. The last time inflation was lower than this was June 2021. Additionally, German HICP rose to 3.1% YoY in January. This figure was in line with market expectations. There is still one more inflation release to consider before the ECB’s March meeting, but the numbers for January increase confidence that their first-rate cut may not be until at least April. 

In Asia, China’s CPI fell by 0.8% YoY in January, the most in more than 14 years and worse than the market’s expectation. It was the fourth straight month of CPI decline in China. Core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, increased by 0.4% YoY in January, the softest rise since last June.


Global stocks were up last week by 1.2% in euro terms and up 1.1% in local terms. Year-to-date global markets are up by 6.1% in euro terms and by 3.6% in local terms. The US market, the largest in the world, finished up 1.6 % in euro and 1.5% in local terms.

Fixed Income & FX

The US 10-year yield finished at 4.2% last week. The German equivalent finished at 2.4%. The Irish 10-year bond yield finished at 2.8%. The Euro/US Dollar exchange rate finished at 1.08, whilst Euro/GBP finished at 0.85.


Oil finished the week at $77 per barrel and is up 9.8% year-to-date in euro terms. Gold finished the week at $2,024 per troy ounce and is up 0.4% year-to date in euro terms. Copper finished the week at $8,065 per tonne.


The week ahead

Tuesday 13th February

US CPI figures are released.

Wednesday 14th February

UK CPI figures going to print.

Eurozone GDP is published.



About: Zurich Investments

The team at Zurich Investments is a long established and highly experienced team of investment managers who manage approximately €32.2bn in investments of which pension assets amount to €27.2bn. Find out more about Zurich Life’s funds and investments here.

The team at Zurich Investments is a long established and highly experienced team of investment managers who manage approximately €32.2bn in investment of which pension assets amount to €27.2bn. To find out more about Zurich Life’s funds and investmentsw: @ZurichLifeLinkedIn:

Warning: Past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance. Benefits may be affected by changes in currency exchange rates. The value of your investment may go down as well as up. If you invest in these funds you may lose some or all of the money you invest.