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“January effect” kicks off the New Year.

February 13, 2023
clock 12 MIN READ

Most global stock markets began 2023 with a strong rally, bolstered mainly by investor optimism amid generally positive economic data and signs that the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) will continue to slow the pace of interest-rate hikes. It appears that the so-called “January effect” 1—which theorizes that the financial markets particularly small-cap stocks) tend to gain more in January than in any other month—has once again prevailed. Emerging-market equities performed particularly well, with Latin America and Emerging Asia generating the greatest returns.2 Within developed-market equities, gains in the U.S. continued to lag amid ongoing weakness in the U.S. dollar, which boosted the performance of non-dollar-denominated stocks in international markets.3

U.S. fixed-income assets generally garnered strong returns in January as bond yields declined (yields and prices have an inverse relationship). High-yield and investment-grade corporate bonds performed in line with each other, outpacing mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and U.S. Treasurys. All Treasury yields with maturities of one year or greater declined during the month, with the intermediate- and long-term segments of the yield curve falling further than short-term yields. Consequently, the yield curve remained inverted (short-term yields exceeded long-term yields).

Regarding the global commodities markets, prices generally decreased during January. The West Texas Intermediate crude-oil spot price was down 1.4% while Brent crude oil fell by 0.4% amid concerns about additional interest-rate hikes from central banks and an increasing supply of Russian crude oil. The NYMEX natural gas price declined by 34% as an unusually mild winter in the U.S. resulted in lower demand and higher inventories. Wheat prices decreased by 3.8% after Russia renewed a deal with the UN, Ukraine, and Turkey that allows the shipment of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.4

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1 According to the MSCI World and MSCI Emerging Markets indexes.
2 According to the MSCI Emerging Markets Latin America and MSCI Emerging Markets Asia indexes.
3 According to the MSCI North America and MSCI USA indexes.
4 According to market data from The Wall Street Journal.


This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice regarding SEI’s portfolios or any stock in particular, nor should it be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell a security, including futures contracts.

There are risks involved with investing, including loss of principal. International investments may involve risk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuation in currency values, from differences in generally accepted accounting principles or from economic or political instability in other nations. Emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors as well as increased volatility and lower trading volume. Narrowly focused investments and smaller companies typically exhibit higher volatility. Bonds and bond funds will decrease in value as interest rates rise. High-yield bonds involve greater risks of default or downgrade and are more volatile than investment-grade securities, due to the speculative nature of their investments.

Diversification may not protect against market risk. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Index returns are for illustrative purposes only and do not represent actual portfolio performance. Index returns do not reflect any management fees, transaction costs or expenses. One cannot invest directly in an index.

Information provided by SEI Investments Management Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of SEI Investments Company (SEI).

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