Markets close mixed, but up for January

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The ASX closed up 4.5% for the month of January, which is the best monthly performance we’ve seen in two years, mostly on the back of stronger mining and energy stocks, as Chinese demand continues to elevate iron ore prices, and oil prices remain strong.

On the negative side, the major four banks continue to weigh down the markets as they await the final report of the Royal Commission into Banking & Financial Services, to be delivered next Monday (Feb 4th) after markets have closed. Understandably, the timing of this report is causing some serious jitters.

Globally, the possibility of a hard Brexit at the end of March, coupled with US/China trade tensions is adding to market nervousness. Clearly, a breakthrough on either front (particularly US/China trade) would come as welcome news. Thankfully the accomodative US Fed Reserve language in recent days is acting as a positive counterweight.

We’ll keep you posted.

Rick Maggi CFP