- January was a volatile month of trading, and the market plunged on the last day amid rising fears about the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Overall, the S&P 500 returned -0.04% in January, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average returned -0.89%. The Nasdaq Composite fared better, generating +2.00% during the month.
- Oil prices fell on worries that the coronavirus outbreak will reduce Chinese energy consumption (China is the world’s largest oil consumer). Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, recently traded at $55.34 a barrel and is down nearly 20% from the recent peak in September. Representatives of OPEC and its allies are set to meet in early February to debate reducing output.
- At 11pm on January 31, Britain left the European Union, meeting the self-imposed deadline for Brexit. There will be an 11-month transition period, and the UK will leave the single market and customs union at the end of the transition. In the meantime, the two sides will negotiate a new free trade agreement.
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