Asset Class Performance – January to April 2024

Donal Coughlan

The above performance chart illustrates how various asset classes have performed year to date. It shows the performance of some of our benchmark funds in each of the main asset classes.


It has been a strong start to the year for equities – at the time of writing the MSCI World is up c. 11% in euro terms. Equities have continued to build on the gains of last year. The key driver of returns has been a strong earnings season, helped by a better-than-expected economic backdrop. Added to this, equity markets are expecting that interest rates will fall this year, albeit not by as much as was expected at the beginning of this year, and this, allied to better economic prospects, provides a tail wind for equities. Additionally, index performance has been driven strongly by the “magnificent seven” tech stocks on hopes that AI will radically improve productivity.

Plenty of challenges still exist in the world (e.g. geopolitics, inflation re-emerging and the challenges of trying to tackle human-made climate change while not derailing global economies) and these will undoubtedly cause volatility. Notwithstanding this, the prospects for equities still look healthy.


Bonds have struggled year to date as markets adjust to the increasing reality that interest rates will fall at a slower pace than was expected at the beginning of the year. However, despite this short-term recalibration in bond markets the outlook remains relatively positive as trends in interest rates are expected to be lower (this should be supportive of bond returns). Corporate bonds have outperformed government bonds year to date.


Property continues to go through a challenging period, particularly in the office sector. However, there are signs that the degree of decline is beginning to moderate, and the Aviva Property Fund is flat year to date (having fallen for 15 months prior to start of this year). It may well be towards the end of 2024 before we see the market fully bottoming out – but there appears to be some early signs of stabilisation.


Cash fund returns continue to remain healthy, however, they are expected to moderate in light of the expected ECB rate cuts this June.

Multi-Asset Funds

Multi-asset funds have benefitted from the strong performance of equities. Their strong gains have more than compensated for a weaker outcome for bond and property returns.

Our house view remains optimistic for these multi-asset options, and we are happy for our clients to hold these funds on a standalone basis to achieve their desired risk return outcome.

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