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We can safely conclude that the recovery has been swift and strong.

Incidentally, there is hardly a hint of this year's drama in total return figures for the past 12 months, with relevant indices ranging from -4% in Norway (the mutual fund index) to 6% for the MSCI world index and 12% for the S&P 500. That's squarely within the range of probable outcomes in the stock market. In other words, looking at these return figures only, you'd be likely to conclude that it was a pretty boring year.

Now, that's the very nature of the stock market. Incredibly rocky roads turn into surprisingly smooth pavement as time goes by. No wonder this past year seems so boring. It's almost as if we're back to normalcy.

Well, not quite; the bond market seems to disagree. Credit spreads are no way near their pre-corona levels. On the contrary: For global high-yield bonds, spreads are still about 1,2 percentage points above their levels as at the end of July last year.

That's a pertinent reminder that something is still amiss in the economy. Whereas massive measures by central banks and governments have managed to lift spirits and prices in the stock market, the real economy is not back to normal – far from it – and there is still a heightened level of risk.

Just remember that, in the end, taking on risk is what you're getting paid for.

 

 

Historical returns are no guarantee for future returns. Future returns will depend, inter alia, on, market developments, the portfolio manager's skill, the fund's risk profile, as well as fees for subscription, management and redemption. Returns may become negative as a result of negative price developments.

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