Fund Manager's Comments
A collection of the Fund Manager's comments and Chairman's Statements. These are extracted from the original Portfolio Details and Accounts that are published on this website.
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Coronavirus, a new virus which originated in China, has spread across Asia and into most of the major economies around the world, sparking fears of a major outbreak similar to the SARS epidemic that plagued China and Asia in the early 2000s. However, any short-term economic impact is likely to be short lived and limited to the economies of China and East Asia. Recent economic data shows that in the US, Q4 real GDP grew by 2.1% on an annualised basis, in part due to a boost from net exports. Year-on-year, real GDP is up 2.3% prompting the Fed to leave the target range for the federal funds rate unchanged. A similar stance was adopted by the Bank of England which also opted to keep policy rates unchanged. Chinese GDP growth held steady in the fourth quarter with data on December activity exceeding expectations, providing early indications of a stabilising Chinese economy. The major world markets as represented by the MSCI World Index and the S&P 500 broke their upward trend in January with both these indices declining by 0.68% and 0.16% respectively. The UK, European and Asian markets were also weaker. In the UK, the FTSE was down by 3.40% in local currency terms as were the other indices that we monitor, namely the Small Cap Index which declined by 0.92%, the AIM All Share Index which was down by 0.95% and the Fledgling Index which was down by only 0.46%. Our portfolio of investments performed much better than the overall market, increasing by 1.59% during the month which, after allowing for expenses resulted in a 1.51% improvement in the NAV. We sold our holding in Vitec, Camellia and Andrews Sykes, utilising the proceeds and some of our surplus cash to add to our position in Homeserve and 4Imprint. Cash currently comprises 5.1% of the portfolio.