As of December 31, 2013
After a strong year for global equities, markets experienced modest profi t taking early in December but remained positive for the year overall, supported by positive economic data and corporate earnings outlook statements. From a regional perspective, Europe saw some weakness while Chinese equities underperformed after a strong November, when the country’s markets benefited from a number of reforms which were confirmed at the Third Plenum and whichwe believe will continue to benefit Chinese shares in 2014. Japan performed well as the yen continued to weaken in response to improved U.S. economic data and the recently announced reduction of U.S. Federal Reserve quantitative easing1 (QE)-related bond purchases.
Within resource optimization markets, the principal areas of positive performance came from pollution control as well as economically sensitive companies within the water infrastructure markets.
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1Quantitative easing is monetary policy used by central banks to stimulate a national economy. Typically, central banks implement quantitative easing by buying financial assets from commercial banks and other private institutions, injecting a pre-determined quantity of money into the economy.