There were some incredible returns in 2020, especially from across the Atlantic. The Nasdaq ended the year up 43.6 per cent and the S&P 500, up 16.3 per cent. The recovery in 'value' was reflected in the 18.5 per cent return of the Russell 2000. China was up 22.5 per cent, Japan 16.0 per cent and the German DAX 3.6 per cent. The underperformance of the UK stands out. UK Large capitalisation stocks, as reflected by the FTSE 100, were down 14.3 per cent. Our friends across the Channel did not do much better with the CAC 40 down 6.5 per cent. Smaller cap stocks did well in the UK with the Aim All-Share Index up 20.5 per cent and FTSE Small Cap up 4.5 per cent.
The March lows also marked a new bull market in commodities, with many important metals hitting multi-year highs in recent weeks. For example, copper has nearly doubled since March and stands at its highest level since March 2013. Likewise, the price of zinc, nickel and platinum have been healthy. Although oil staged a significant recovery, at $51 (£37) per barrel, Brent crude was down 21.6 per cent on the year. Gold performed its role as a store of value in uncertain times, gaining 24.0 per cent, although was some 9 per cent off its August peak at the year-end. First prize goes to bitcoin, which was up 310 per cent in 2020.