• S&P ASX 200 just had its best start to any year, while S&P/NZ 50 also has sold rise in January
  • Mid caps slightly lag large and small-caps in Australia in January, microcaps fall behind in NZ
  • 10 out of 11 sectors contribute rise in ASX January returns with materials the heavy hitter

For some, it’s a gentle rivalry. For others, it’s an ongoing feud that steadfastly refuses to be settled – like the Hatfields and the McCoys, if they lived on either side of a very, very wide creek and one family spoke with a weird accent and said “bro” a lot more than could be plausibly defended.

But for us here at Stockhead, the ongoing quest to be better than our neighbours across the Tasman at as many things as possible is something that drives our urge to crunch the numbers, wade through the data and analyse things more closely than a short-sighted science nerd.

And that is why we bring you the ultimate in full-contact financial competition.

It’s Kangaroo vs Kiwi, Wombat vs Weta, and Kookaburra vs Kakapo all rolled into one – a veritable Bledisloe of the Bourse, if you will – to find out whether it’s Australia or New Zealand who gets crowned Best in Show for Market Performance, every single month until we lose a few on the trot and pretend this never happened.

Everyone here is excited, the referee (certified Not French) is ready to blow his whistle, so let’s stop with the waffling and get down to brass tacks to see whose numbers have stacked up best, between the ASX and the NZX.


And the winner is…

Start the celebrations for Australia, which again took home the winners trophy according to S&P Dow Jones Indices Australia and New Zealand Index Dashboard for January 2023.

Futhermore,  the S&P ASX 200 was up 6.2% in January, its best month since March 2022 and best start to the year since the index’s creation in 2000.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s S&P NZX 50 Portfolio also advanced, up 4.2% in January following global equity markets in a much needed rally to start 2023 after a tough 2022 for investors and the traditional December Christmas rally failing to eventuate.


Midcaps lag in Australia, microcaps in NZ

Midcaps slightly lagged large and small caps as the S&P ASX MidCap 50 added 6.0% compared to 6.3% for the S&P ASX 50 and 6.6% for the S&P ASX Small Ordinaries.

In New Zealand, microcaps lagged, with the S&P NZX Emerging Opportunities Index edging up 2.9%.


Materials leads pack in Australia

January was a good month across the board for Australian equities with materials responsible for over a third of the S&P ASX 200’s gain and 10 out of 11 sectors contributing positively to January returns.

The S&P ASX 200 Consumer Discretionary surged 9.9%, while trailing at the back, Utilities fell 3%.

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices


All equity factors up, fixed income up too

S&P Dow Jones Indices reported all Australian equity factor indices rose in January, with Quality’s 7.6% leading the way. Momentum was at the back but still enjoyed a 2.6% gain.

January was also a great month for fixed income, too. Inflation-linked bonds provided investors with the highest returns in both Australia and New Zealand.

The S&P ASX Government Inflation-Linked Bond 0+ Index climbed 5.0% while the S&P NZX Inflation-Indexed Government Bonds Index gaining 3.6% in January.

Franklin Templeton managing director of fixed income Australia Chris Siniakov told Stockhead this week bonds could be back in favour in 2023 after being out of vogue for much of the last decade on the back of central banks’ quantitative easing programs suppressing yields everywhere.


A sense of calmness for Aussie investors

And despite economic headwinds global markets and the Aussie bourse may still face in 2023, S&P Dow Jones Indices said there remains a certain calmness in Australian equity markets

The S&P ASX 200 VIX Index, known as the ‘fear index’, barely budged, closing the month at 13.