Managed since December 2014 by the same manager and with the MSCI North America Index as a benchmark, the fund invests in attractive US companies with sustainable dividend yields.
Is managed by a highly experienced and top performing value manager
Adopts a disciplined value style with a distinctive quality overlay
Offers lower risk than the broad market with low correlations to other US funds
August 2019 - Latest commentary
Following months of advance in the US markets amassing circa 20% in seven months, markets fell by about 2% in August. Markets are still up 18% for the year, with six months out of eight being positive. The major news was not in the equities world but in the larger bonds world. Interest rates witnessed a brutal, rapid and heavy decline with the 10-year treasury yields declining from 2% down to below 1.5%, a record low for more than a 50bps decline in just one month. Commodities continued to decline heavily, losing as much as 5% for the month. Oil remained in the mid-50s range, having been volatile over the past year. Commodities declined, losing about 2% on average. Gold had another strong month in a row, moving from $1,450 to break the $1500, for an advance of around 27% in twelve months.
The value style of investment underperformed the markets strongly in August, falling by almost 3%. This compares to growth’s fall of 1%, for a 2% underperformance over the month. Year-to-date growth is outperforming value by as much as 9%. Over three and five-year cycles, underperformance stands at 34% and 47% respectively, while the ten-year differential has now widened to 122%. Utilities, real estate and consumer staples were the best sectors over the month. Financials, technology and energy were the worst. In M&A activity, CBS reunited with Viacom following almost 10 years of separation. The fund underperformed the markets as well as style in the month of August with decline in interest rates not helping. Stock selection in the consumer discretionary and materials sectors drove the underperformance, while in communications services it added value. Currency was a slight negative.
Following this the portfolio was trading at an attractive valuation with the price-to-earnings ratio at a new cycle low of 9.4. The market in the meantime was being offered at a pricey 19.4, or a full 10 points higher with a record discount of 52%. Other value metrics showed similar discount levels of 50%. On a price-sales basis the discount was even larger, at 70% which is acting as the maximum level for now. The dividend yield was 3.2%. This came coupled with an average leverage lower than the markets’, and an average ROE higher.
Previous months’ commentaries are contained within the fund factsheets.