The data shown is not constant over time and the allocation may change in the future. Totals may not sum to 100.0% due to rounding. All data source Allianz Global Investors unless otherwise stated.
Data as of 30.11.2020
Data as of 30.11.2020. Excludes Cash
|Europe ex UK||27.9|
|Pacific ex Japan||5.2|
Data as of 30.11.2020. Excludes Cash
Global equities surged over November, recording one of their strongest monthly returns on record. Positive trial data from several Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers boosted hopes “relative normality” could be restored as soon as spring next year. At the same time, Joe Biden’s victory in the US Presidential election was taken positively, with the prospect of greater stability in global trade, sustainable infrastructure investment, and without potentially disruptive left-leaning policies.
At a sector level, cyclicals saw the sharpest moves upwards. Energy and Financials led the way. Utilities and Consumer Staples by contrast, recorded only a modest rise overall. Despite the rally’s strength, highly cyclical stocks mostly remain underwater year to date and this year’s strongest performing sectors – Information Technology and Consumer Discretionary – continue to do well overall.
The Trust outperformed over the month, with a NAV total return of 13.16% vs its benchmark’s 10.35% return. Stock selection in the Technology and Utilities sectors made the largest positive contributions to returns, partially offset by our positions in Health Care.
Total made the largest positive contribution to returns. Total still generates over 60% of revenues from oil-based activity, which is expected to benefit from a normalisation of demand patterns. However, this month the company also announced two initiatives related to its 2050 net-zero ambition: one on carbon capture storage, the other on electric vehicle charging.
Microchip Technology also boosted performance. The maker of microcontrollers reported quarterly results that beat expectations. Significantly, Microchip also announced that it expects semiconductor demand has bottomed, with a new upcycle fuelled by 5G.
Roche was the portfolio’s weakest performer. Front of mind for investors is the biosimilar erosion of Roche’s legacy oncology range which has impacted financial performance this year. However, Roche also has strong business growth prospects from its Ocrevus, Tecentriq, Evrysdi products and in its diagnostics business.
The Cooper Companies also detracted from returns. The maker of contact lenses and surgical devices has performed well this year, offsetting abnormal customer behaviour by investing in sales infrastructure and marketing. The stock has partially been caught up in the month’s stock market reversal. Q4 results in December should provide better clarity on current trading and the outlook.
We initiated a position in Danish company Novo Nordisk, who specialise in treatment for diabetes and other weight-related conditions. The shares have lagged peers of late, due to Covid-19 slowing new patient growth and increased concerns around competition. In the context of our long-term approach, this offered us a good entry point.
We sold Albemarle. The low-cost producer of specialty chemicals has a substantial exposure to Lithium, demand for which is growing. However, competition from peers has led to a greater than expected volatility in the share price. We thus took advantage of the stock recovering to near its all-time high to exit the holding.
The Financial Times’ Frankfurt Bureau chief described the apparent ebullience in global equities as “a Labrador market, which is simply delighted with everything it encounters”. On the one hand, weak economic news made worse by Covid-19 increases the possibility of stimulus, boosting markets. Alternatively, as the vaccine is rolled out and normality resumes, pent-up economic growth will power equities ever upwards. Massive liquidity and negative real interest rates only add further fuel to the fire.
In this context as ever, maintaining focus on first principles provides reassurance. There is no doubt that certain stocks look overvalued. Prices for many of the “stay at home” winners look eye-watering even after the recent market rotation. Similarly, the prospect of a rapid return to normal has led to huge gains for many companies whose long-term future looks uncertain, regardless of Covid-19. However, this is not to tarnish whole sectors or indeed say that equities as a whole are too expensive.
Many stocks have investment cases which can outlast their 2020 boom. Similarly, there are those whose immediate challenges as a result of Covid-19 mean they are overly discounted in a longer-term context. Within the Trust’s portfolio, we have exposure to both types of company as a result of our balanced quality, growth and valuation focus. We look for business models that we consider to be on the right side of longer-term structural trends such as digitalisation, electrification or ageing populations. We find that these companies span a range of industries, as well as classifications like “value” or “growth”, “cyclical” or “defensive”
The Trust’s recent performance is a vindication of this balanced approach. Of the portfolio’s 62 holdings, 18 returned over 20% in November, including 40% for Amadeus a maker of software for the travel and hospitality sector. Even after these gains, in more cyclical stocks where our long-term investment thesis remains valid, there is still considerable long-term upside potential. In a portfolio context, it is encouraging that these gains have come without commensurate loss in “stay at home” stocks such as Microsoft, which had driven the portfolio’s returns earlier in the year We believe this balanced approach will continue to serve the Trust well in the post Covid era.
We believe this balanced approach will continue to serve the Trust well
This is no recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any particular security.
|NAV (debt at fair value)||8.4||13.8||7.1||24.5||79.4|
Source: Thomson Reuters DataStream, percentage growth, mid to mid, total return to 30.11.2020.1
|NAV (debt at fair value)||7.1||13.4||2.5||19.9||20.1|
Source: Thomson Reuters DataStream, percentage growth, mid to mid, total return as at 30.11.2020.1
1Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns. You should not make any assumptions on the future on the basis of performance information. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise as a result of market fluctuations and you may not get back the amount originally invested.This investment trust charges 70% of its annual management fee to the capital account and 30% to revenue. This could lead to a higher level of income but capital growth will be constrained as a result.
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