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The market at a glance: Happy birthday!

The market at a glance: Happy birthday!

9 October 2023

Special occasions also call for special songs. As Alpian is celebrating the first anniversary of its public launch, our pick for this month stood out as obvious. “Happy birthday” by Stevie Wonder will be accompanying us in this market review.  

 For the anecdote, this song, now a birthday celebration standard, was originally written to promote a cause: Making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday.  

Advocating for causes is important, and while our contribution may be very modest compared to Martin Luther King Jr.'s, we take pride in challenging the status quo in the Swiss banking landscape every day. So please indulge us in this brief moment of celebration. 

 Lighter moments also help us take a step back from markets that don’t seem to be in a celebratory mood recently. Or perhaps, the markets are indeed recalling times past. 

 This past month has had a sense of 'déjà vu’. If you remember, September 2022 was not a particularly good month for investors, and we cannot help but notice some similarities.  

I couldn't resist pulling up a few sentences extracted from various market commentaries from one year ago found on the internet:  

 “Markets fell sharply again over the last week in response to continuing hawkish central bank comments and rising recession fears.”  

 “It is bond markets where the recent moves have been most dramatic. Long-term bond yields jumped higher as prices slid.” 

 “Bitcoin stays indecisive.” 

 “It should be the perfect time to own gold. But gold prices haven’t surged. In fact, they’re down almost 20% from their recent March peak.” 

 “The USD has punched its way to a fresh two-month high, and is on course for its largest monthly gain.” 

 A lazy asset manager could literally copy and paste these notes and get their monthly review for September 2023 done in no time. However, this shortcut would obscure some important details: On paper, the macroeconomic context today may feel similar, but in reality, it’s not.  

 Let’s consider the trajectory of the following drivers for the economies over the past year:   

  • Inflation has more than halved. 

  • Interest rates have more than doubled. 

  • The growth of businesses and companies didn’t stop. 

The situation is really different. Last year, we feared inflation would become entrenched and we didn’t know how far central banks would go to avoid this.  

Today, we have more visibility on these two variables, but we also know the cost we will have to pay for reining in inflation: Slower growth. 

This illustrates the difficulties of establishing a direct link between markets and economies. They simply operate on different timescales. More economic uncertainty does not mean that the market cannot perform well.  

Since September 2022, markets have recorded positive performance and overly cautious investors may have missed that. We didn’t. At Alpian, we stayed invested and we grew the AUM by 5.33%. Why? Because we stuck to our investment philosophy: Stay invested for the long run and bet on diversification.  

Today, we may be in the opposite paradigm: We have more visibility on economic variables in a way, but the markets are bracing themselves for more turbulence. But turbulence is part of the investment journey, and we’ll accept it.  

 Getting older is not that bad after all: You learn to ignore the noise and focus on what matters. 


Demystification room: One year of making finances understandable for all.  

Many financial professionals like to use jargon or unnecessarily complicate things. We don't. We enjoy breaking down complex topics that make headlines or answering questions from our readers.   

To celebrate this one-year commitment, let's recap some of the free resources we have created for everyone interested in learning about finances:   

  • Kickstarter guide to investing, perfect for beginners unsure where to start their investment journey.   

  • Investment’s masterclass, a two-part email series designed to simplify the world of investments.   

  • i-vest by Alpian blog, hundreds of educational articles, and interviews, all connected to the world of finances and investments in Switzerland.

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