Investor sentiment took a 180-degree turn in the New Year. Stock markets rallied around the globe through most of the first quarter, reclaiming much of the fourth quarter’s losses. The S&P 500 Index delivered its best quarterly performance since 2009. West Texas Intermediate crude oil topped $60 per barrel at the end of the three-month period after climbing by more than 30%.
Government bond rates declined in the U.S., U.K. and eurozone during the first three months of the year. The U.S. Treasury yield-curve inversion continued to deepen over the quarter, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury ultimately falling below those of Treasurys with the shortest maturities. Long-term rates generally fell by more than short-term rates in the U.K. and eurozone, while German 10-year government bond yields dropped back below zero.