Fund Manager December 2021 Commentary – City of London Investment Trust
4 minute read
During December, the UK equity market produced a total return of 4.7%, as measured by the FTSE All Share Index. Large companies slightly outperformed, with the FTSE 100 Index returning 4.8% compared with 4.4% for the FTSE 250 Index of medium-sized companies1. The key event during the month was the decision by the Bank of England to increase its Bank Rate from 0.1% to 0.25%. This move was in response to the increase in inflation, especially from rising energy prices, and with economic output having recovered almost all of the pandemic losses.
A notable outperformer during the month was British American Tobacco (BAT) where City of London has a large holding. BAT indicated, at its pre-close trading update, further progress in the growth of its less harmful products, continuing reduction in its debts and the possibility of a share buy-back going forward. On the other hand, Synthomer, the chemicals group, was a marked underperformer from City of London’s portfolio, on concerns about increasing supply in the nitrile it makes, which is used in products such as rubber gloves. An addition was made to City of London’s holding given the attractive share price valuation for a company with a technology leadership position in diverse, speciality chemistries. Some profits were taken in mining groups, Anglo American and BHP, after their strong performance in 2021 due to higher than expected commodity prices.
Looking forward, further interest rate increases can be expected, given the rise in inflation. However, the dividend yield of UK equities remains attractive relative to the main alternatives.
The repurchase of shares by a company, thereby reducing the number of shares outstanding. This gives existing shareholders a larger percentage ownership of the company. It typically signals the company’s optimism about the future and a possible undervaluation of the company’s equity.
Dividend yield is the financial ratio that measures the quantum of cash dividends paid out to shareholders relative to the market value per share. It is computed by dividing the dividend per share by the market price per share and multiplying the result by 100. A company with a high dividend yield pays a substantial share of its profits in the form of dividends. Dividend yield of a company is always compared with the average of the industry to which the company belongs.
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- Active management techniques that have worked well in normal market conditions could prove ineffective or negative for performance at other times.
- The Company could lose money if a counterparty with which it trades becomes unwilling or unable to meet its obligations to the Company.
- Shares can lose value rapidly, and typically involve higher risks than bonds or money market instruments. The value of your investment may fall as a result.
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