Portfolio & Performance

ISINGB0001490001
SEDOL0149000

Share Price is the price of a single ordinary share, as determined by the stock market. The share price above is the mid-market price at market close.
Share Price
918.0p


Net Asset Value (NAV) per Share is calculated as available shareholders’ funds divided by the number of shares in issue, with shareholders’ funds taken to be the net value of all the company’s assets after deducting liabilities. The NAV figure above is based on the fair/market value of the company’s long-term debt and preference shares (known as debt at market value). This allows for the valuation of long-term debt and preference shares at fair value or current market price, rather than at final repayment value (known as debt at par).
NAV per Share
982.5p


Premium/Discount. Since investment company shares are traded on a stock market, the share price that you get may be higher or lower than the NAV. The difference is known as a premium or discount.
Premium/-Discount
-6.6%


Dividend Yield is calculated using the latest full year dividend divided by the current share price.
Dividend Yield
2.0%

Data source DataStream and Allianz Global Investors as at 23.01.2020 based on market close mid price.

Awards & Ratings

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Morningstar Rating: The Morningstar Rating is an assessment of a fund’s past performance – based on both return and risk – which shows how similar investments compare with their competitors. A high rating alone is insufficient basis for an investment decision.
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Morningstar Bronze Rating: Morningstar analysts assign these ratings on a five-tier scale with three positive ratings of Gold, Silver, and Bronze, a Neutral rating, and a Negative rating. If a fund receives a positive rating it means Morningstar analysts think highly of the fund and expect it to outperform over a full market cycle of at least five years.
© 2019 Morningstar. All Rights Reserved. The information contained herein: (1) is proprietary to Morningstar and/or its content providers; (2) may not be copied or distributed; and (3) is not warranted to be accurate, complete or timely. Neither Morningstar nor its content providers are responsible for any damages or losses arising from any use of this information. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
The Morningstar Analyst Rating for Funds is a forward-looking analysis of a fund. Morningstar has identified five key areas crucial to predicting the future success of a fund: People, Parent, Process, Performance, and Price. The pillars are used in determining the Morningstar Analyst Rating for a fund. Morningstar Analyst Ratings are assigned on a five-tier scale running from Gold to Negative. The top three ratings, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, all indicate that our analysts think highly of a fund; the difference between them corresponds to differences in the level of analyst conviction in a fund’s ability to outperform its benchmark and peers through time, within the context of the level of risk taken over the long term. Neutral represents funds in which our analysts don’t have a strong positive or negative conviction over the long term and Negative represents funds that possess at least one flaw that our analysts believe is likely to significantly hamper future performance over the long term. Long term is defined as a full market cycle or at least five years. Past performance of a security may or may not be sustained in future and is no indication of future performance. For detailed information about the Morningstar Analyst Rating for Funds, please visit http://global.morningstar.com/managerdisclosures.

Portfolio

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.

Top 20 Holdings (%)

Microsoft
4.9
UnitedHealth Group
3.5
Muenchener Rueckver
3.2
Roche
3.0
Taiwan Semiconductor
2.9
Accenture
2.7
Visa - A Shares
2.6
Royal Dutch Shell - B Shares
2.4
Cooper Cos
2.3
Estée Lauder
2.3
Agilent Technologies
2.3
Ecolab
2.2
GlaxoSmithKline
2.0
Adidas
2.0
AIA Group
2.0
Microchip Technologies
1.8
Schneider Electric
1.8
AbbVie
1.8
Itochu
1.7
AMETEK
1.7

Data as of 31.12.2019

Sector Breakdown (%)

Financials
22.7
Industrials
22.4
Health Care
15.5
Technology
12.2
Consumer Goods
9.2
Consumer Services
7.2
Basic Materials
5.0
Utilities
2.7
Oil & Gas
2.4
Telecommunications
0.7

Data as of 31.12.2019. Excludes Cash

Geographic Breakdown (%)

North America 44.0
UK 24.4
Europe ex UK 23.6
Pacific ex Japan 5.4
Japan 2.7

Data as of 31.12.2019. Excludes Cash

Fund Manager Comments

Market Review

Global equities closed 2019 on a strong footing, with many markets reaching fresh highs. Sentiment was lifted by two major developments: The US and China began to communicate they were close to reaching a “phase one” trade agreement, while the Conservative Party’s decisive victory in the UK general election provided some clarity on Brexit.

As a fundamental underpinning to the stronger markets, economic data improved, buoying hopes that the global economic slowdown may have bottomed out. Most central banks kept interest rates on hold, with a handful of rate cuts in the developing world. However, Sweden’s Riksbank bucked the broader trend, becoming the first central bank to move away from negative rates amid concerns over their wider impact.

The British pound surged following the Conservative Party’s decisive victory in the UK general election, breaching USD 1.32 for the first time since the spring.

Portfolio Review

The Trust’s NAV with debt at fair value returned 2.57% against a benchmark return of 1.61%, after fees. Strong stock selection continued to be the portfolio’s main driver of returns, particularly in the Industrials, Financials and Consumer Services sectors.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has made the largest positive contribution to returns. A US/China rapprochement has eased pressure on the supplier of semiconductor wafers, which supplies Apple and Huawei, each country’s respective smartphone giant. Looking ahead, the launch of TSMC’s new 5 nanometre nodes will be central to the rollout of 5G handsets and infrastructure globally, which should fuel structural rather than cyclical growth. The yield of over 3% also remains attractive.

Sirius Real Estate also boosted performance. The UK real estate company has benefited from a decisive Conservative majority, which is seen as bringing some degree of clarity to the UK’s political and economic future. However, with a high grade portfolio of properties in London and Manchester that is efficiently managed, Sirius has already substantially boosted its funds from operations. Alongside low interest rates and the high demand for yield, Sirius’ investment case remains firmly intact.

International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) was a weak spot in the month, as it made a surprise announcement of plans to merge with Dupont’s Nutrition and Biosciences unit. The deal was met with scepticism by the market, where sentiment had only recently recovered from the recent Frutarom acquisition. While we share some concern about the timing of the deal, we do view it as a unique opportunity which is ultimately strategically sensible and fairly valued. The merged entity has the potential to create an industry leader with substantial synergy potential.

Charles Schwab also detracted from performance, reversing some of last month’s contribution. Shares in the US financial services provider had rallied sharply in November following news it would be acquiring rival TD Ameritrade. Recent weakness is likely to reflect profit-taking. However, the month also saw a meaningful slowdown in interest-earning deposits as customers bought into equity funds. While further economic optimism may impact net interest margins in the short-term, Schwab’s acquisition of Ameritrade consolidates the firm’s position as a leading wealth manager.

Significant Transactions

Over the period we sold our position in EOG Resources, Nielsen Holdings and TP ICAP.

Outlook

Monetary policy has been the strongest driver of equity market returns in 2019. This force is now on hold for the foreseeable future. This will provide a support for current asset levels, without providing stimulus for further strong appreciation. Growth, which decelerated throughout the previous year, also appears to be stabilising.

With the phase one US/China trade deal announced, the major drag on growth from trade disputes, tariffs and corporate spending should at least not increase. Corporate profits should also return to modest growth in 2020 after a year of negative momentum. In Europe, businesses are hopeful that Prime Minister Johnson’s substantial majority will at last deliver some clarity on Brexit. In addition, the prospect of substantial fiscal stimulus has been widely discussed. As investors, we will need to see evidence of delivery.

Valuations have risen over the course of 2019 and remain higher than average in absolute terms. The MSCI World index’s valuation, as measured by its aggregate long-term price-to-earnings ratio, is now at a level not seen since 2007. However, relative to other asset classes, notably fixed interest and cash, equity markets are attractively valued, with higher yields than most bond markets.

We maintain a strategic bias towards Quality and structural Growth. We believe this will continue to benefit the portfolio as sources of potential volatility remain in the uncertainty over growth, trade frictions between the US and its major trading partners, the US election and increased Middle East conflict. However, we recognise that valuations of Growth and Quality are higher than average. Therefore, within the range of our Quality Growth bias, we have been avoiding the most expensive defensives, favouring Health Care over Consumer staples for example, and maintaining some cyclicality via our Industrials exposure.

Lucy Macdonald 16 January 2020

Relative to other asset classes, equity markets are attractively valued

This is no recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any particular security.

Performance

Performance (%)

Select period:

    Cumulative Returns (%)

    3M6M1Y3Y5Y
    Share Price10.110.734.461.194.7
    NAV (debt at fair value)4.86.425.637.978.0
    Benchmark2.25.421.931.667.2

    Source: Thomson Reuters DataStream, percentage growth, mid to mid, total return to 31.12.2019.1

    Discrete 12 Month Returns to 31 December (%)

    2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
    Share Price34.4-8.230.617.13.2
    NAV (debt at fair value)25.6-7.118.123.64.5
    Benchmark21.9-4.713.223.52.9

    Source: Thomson Reuters DataStream, percentage growth, mid to mid, total return as at 31.12.2019.1

    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.

    Copyright 2019 © DataStream, a Thomson Reuters company. All rights reserved. DataStream shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

    © Allianz Global Investors GmbH 2019, Registered Office: Frankfurt am Main, Register: HRB 9340, Local court: Frankfurt am Main. All Rights Reserved. The Brunner Investment Trust PLC is incorporated in England and Wales. (Company registration no. 226323). Registered Office: 199 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3TY. VAT registration no. 244 7355 54. The Company is a member of the Association of Investment Companies - Category: Global Growth.