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World Markets Review
Global stocks stage broad-based rally: Q1 roundup

Global stocks rallied in the first quarter, extending strong gains from 2023. The S&P 500 Index hit a series of record highs, boosted by healthy corporate earnings, solid U.S. economic growth and investor expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates later in the year. The MSCI Japan Index also moved significantly higher, generating the best returns among major developed markets.

Information technology stocks rose on investor enthusiasm for advancements in artificial intelligence. Market gains broadened to other sectors, including communication services, energy, financials and industrials. In the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI), only one sector lost ground: Real estate stocks fell 1%, pressured by relatively high interest rates and stress in the commercial property sector.

Bond markets generally declined as investors adjusted their expectations for interest rate cuts in the months ahead. At the end of 2023, investors had priced in six rate cuts in the U.S., which has since been revised down to three as inflation remains above the Fed’s 2% target. European Central Bank officials have indicated that the rate path for 2024 remains uncertain.

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