I won’t go into the reasons for the malaise, which differ according to the analyst you speak to. But let’s look more closely at the figures, which make for enlightening, although somewhat depressing, reading.
The FTSE/JSE All Share Index ended 2017 at 59504 points (after breaking the 60000 mark in November 2017). It ended 2018 at 52736 points, a drop of 11.4%. That’s low compared with the 27.5% drop in 2008, but here’s the rub: there hasn’t been a crash. Just lots of volatility, with most of it occurring in the last quarter.
Looking at the total return index (which measures share prices with dividends reinvested), the drop was a slightly more palatable 8.5%. This is the better indicator when considering the performance of your equity unit trust or exchange traded fund investments, because, unless you’re drawing an income, you’re likely to be reinvesting your dividends.
So how did our equity fund managers do in the tough times that were 2018?