Global investors were sent into a frenzy in March, firstly when US treasury yields spiked and sent future earnings for tech stocks tumbling, and again when news broke on a margin call default by Archegos Capital. The equity markets did manage to claw back from the sell-off, with most major indices ending the month in the green, with the exception of China – where solid economic data has led the government to gradually pull back its stimulus.


Global Markets

  • Global financial markets started the month of March with pressure from rising bond yields, which normalised soon after to reignite the demand for equities.
  • The S&P 500 Index defied market expectations, and continued its upward climb to rise 6.73% in MYR terms in March. It outpaced the tech sector after concerns over its discounted future earnings put pressure on the Nasdaq, which only rose 2.81% over the same period.
  • The volatility in the tech sector, which saw most major tech giants lose ground, caused the FANG 2x Leveraged ETF to dip 9.90%, while the FANG -1X Inverse ETF rose 2.97% in March.
  • The Feds maintained its dovish stance, and vowed to keep interest rates low until inflation rises to 2%.
  • The new administration continued with its rescue plan, boosting the wide spread vaccination program, as well as its stimulus payments of USD1,400 to its people.  Infrastructure spending was also fast-tracked, with more than USD2 trillion set aside to boost the country’s transportation infrastructure, and manufacturing sector – a move that has garnered strong support from the public.

China & Hong Kong

  • China indices failed to catch on to the US equities momentum, and ended weakly in the month of March.  Investors took on a more cautious tone after encouraging economic data from China left the PBoC to pull back some of its stimulus measures.
  • Trade tensions between the two major economic powerhouses continued, with the XinJiang cotton saga being the latest.  The episode has left local Chinese boycotting some major US consumer brands, putting pressure on these US names. Tensions have also led Baidu to be the latest China-based company to take on a secondary listing in HK to avoid pressures from the US.
  • The New China ETF retraced its gains to end the month with a 3.4% YTD gains after pressures from the US tech sector, and the broader weakness in HK left the ETF in the red.


  • External pressures, coupled with political tensions continued to dampen the sentiment on the domestic front.
  • The sight of recovery led to a pull back in the performance of the glove sectors, which had previously become the key driver of the domestic market.
  • On-going rumours, and political in-fighting has left many investors staying on the sidelines to wait for more clarity, causing profit taking activity to put downward pressures on the KLCI.
  • Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin did however announce a new stimulus package, Pemerkasa which will include a direct fiscal injection of RM11 billion to the Rakyat.
  • Throughout March, the FBM KLCI index posted losses of 0.27%, while the 0836EA underperformed the broader market with marginal losses of 0.31% as strong volatility was seen in the local market.


  • Gold prices continued to slump in March as rising bond yields put pressure on the precious metal. It did, however, lead to a rush for physical gold for locals, as jewellers took the opportunity to attract buyers with the drop in price.
  • Throughout the month, the 0828EA, which tracks the LBMA Gold Price posed losses of 2.26% in MYR terms, while the gold price index dipped 2.24% in MYR terms.


On the Economic Data Front

  • US shows weak economic data due to Fed’s dovish stance.
    • 916,000 jobs were generated in March—far exceeding expectations
    • Initial job gains estimate for January and February were revised upward by a total of 156,000
    •  Industrial production fell 2.3% in February, missing expectations of a slight increase.
    • Retail sales excluding the auto segment fell by 2.7% in February, the biggest decline since April last year.
    • Existing home sales fell 6.6% in February, while new home sales tumbled 18.2%, roughly twice and triple respectively of initial expectations.
    • Core inflation data recorded an increase of 1.4% in February, below the Fed’s 2% target.
  • China’s sees better than expected macro data
    • Export orders improved by 2.4% to 51.2 while new orders improved by 2.1 to 53.6.
    • Manufacturing PMI missed expectations in March but remains at expansion territory at 50.6.
    • Retail sales the period of January and February together rose over 6.4% as compared to pre-pandemic 2019.
    • Industrial output for the same period also rose 16.9% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.


ETF strategies at TradePlus


A look at the performance of TradePlus ETFs (as at 2 April 2021), and major global indices (as at 2 April 2021)


Learn more about TradePlus ETFs
+(60) 12 250 8002
TradePlus ETF


Disclaimer: This article has been prepared by Affin Hwang Asset Management Berhad (hereinafter referred to as “Affin Hwang AM”) specific for its use, a specific target audience, and for discussion purposes only. All information contained within this presentation belongs to Affin Hwang AM and may not be copied, distributed or otherwise disseminated in whole or in part without written consent of Affin Hwang AM. The information contained in this presentation may include, but is not limited to opinions, analysis, forecasts, projections and expectations (collectively referred to as “Opinions”). Such information has been obtained from various sources including those in the public domain, are merely expressions of belief. Although this presentation has been prepared on the basis of information and/or Opinions that are believed to be correct at the time the presentation was prepared, Affin Hwang AM makes no expressed or implied warranty as to the accuracy and completeness of any such information and/or Opinions. As with any forms of financial products, the financial product mentioned herein (if any) carries with it various risks. Although attempts have been made to disclose all possible risks involved, the financial product may still be subject to inherent risk that may arise beyond our reasonable contemplation. The financial product may be wholly unsuited for you, if you are adverse to the risk arising out of and/or in connection with the financial product. Affin Hwang AM is not acting as an advisor or agent to any person to whom this presentation is directed. Such persons must make their own independent assessments of the contents of this presentation, should not treat such content as advice relating to legal, accounting, taxation or investment matters and should consult their own advisers. Affin Hwang AM and its affiliates may act as a principal and agent in any transaction contemplated by this presentation, or any other transaction connected with any such transaction, and may as a result earn brokerage, commission or other income. Nothing in this presentation is intended to be, or should be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or invitation to subscribe for, any securities. Neither Affin Hwang AM nor any of its directors, employees or representatives are to have any liability (including liability to any person by reason of negligence or negligent misstatement) from any statement, opinion, information or matter (expressed or implied) arising out of, contained in or derived from or any omission from this presentation, except liability under statute that cannot be excluded.

Warning Statement: A copy of the Prospectus / Supplemental Prospectus for the TradePlus Shariah Gold Tracker and TradePlus S&P New China Tracker, the Prospectus for the TradePlus DWA Malaysia Momentum Tracker and TradePlus MSCI Asia Ex Japan REITs Tracker, as well as the Master Prospectus for the TradePlus NYSE® FANG+ Daily (2x) Leveraged Tracker, TradePlus NYSE® FANG+ Daily (-1x) Inverse Tracker, TradePlus HSCEI Daily (2x) Leveraged Tracker and TradePlus HSCEI Daily (-1x) Inverse Tracker (collectively known as the “TradePlus L&I ETFs”) can be obtained at Affin Hwang Asset Management's (“Affin Hwang AM”) website at Investors are advised to read and understand the contents of the Prospectus dated 28 November 2017 and Supplemental Prospectus dated 2 July 2019 (for TradePlus Shariah Gold Tracker), Prospectus dated 15 January 2019 and Supplemental Prospectus dated 2 July 2019 (for TradePlus S&P New China Tracker), Prospectus dated 9 July 2020 (for TradePlus DWA Malaysia Momentum Tracker), Prospectus dated 9 July 2020 (for TradePlus MSCI Asia Ex Japan REITs Tracker), as well as the Master Prospectus dated 26 November 2019 (for the TradePlus L&I ETFs) before investing. There are fees and charges involved when investing in the funds stated herein. Investors are advised to consider and compare the fees and charges as well of the risks carefully before investing. Investors should make their own assessment of the risks involved in investing and should seek professional advice, where necessary. The price of units and distribution payable, if any, may go down as well as up and past performance of the funds should not be taken as indicative of their future performance. The Securities Commission Malaysia has not reviewed this material and takes no responsibility for the contents of this material and expressly disclaims all liability, however arising from this material.

You may refer to the relevant Licensing Disclosure Statement & Conditions at the respective webpages for each fund available on