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The Accumulator: Fed turns bears into bulls with two words

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The Accumulator: Fed turns bears into bulls with two words

Investors will be hoping that the rally in markets over the last week is a sign of the 'Santa rally' starting early, bringing some cheer at the end of a mixed year.

Barring China, every major global stock market was up over the week to yesterday, as our exclusive Accumulator data table shows.

The figures for the rolling month to yesterday meanwhile show November has been a good month, with markets recovering some of their 'Red October' losses.

The US has led the way, up 4.2% over the five trading days to yesterday in pound terms. Despite the two big sell-offs of the year, in February and October, originating in the world's largest economy, the US market is on track to be crowned 2018's best performer. 

The catalyst for this week's rally was Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell's surprise suggestion that the US may be nearing the end of its interest rate hiking cycle.

Just five words from Powell were sufficient to spark October's stock market slump. His claim that interest rates were 'a long way from neutral' at the beginning of the month sparked a big sell-off in US government bonds, which spilled over into the stock market.

His claim this week that rates were 'just below' neutral, an apparent reversal of his stance, reinvigorated investors.

It sparked a rally in precisely those areas of the market hit hardest by October's sell-off. Growth stocks, particularly in the technology sector, tumbled last month, as the investors fretted the value of the future earnings would be eroded by interest rate rises.

Few fund groups are as avowedly focused on growth investing as Baillie Gifford, and their funds were dealt a big blow by Red October.

But they have led the way in the rebound. Over the last week alone, Baillie Gifford's American, Japanese Smaller Companies and Global Discovery funds have rallied by more than 6%. Over the last month, the Japanese Smaller Companies fund is up by a remarkable 17.7%.

You can access The Accumulator here.

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