Continued growth in global economic activity has buoyed stock markets over the last quarter but substantial political uncertainty and the risk of potential protectionist moves in the US remain a concern for investors.
March Asset Management funds have adjusted to respond to the changing environment. In January, the March International – March Vini Catena A EUR returned 3.17%, compared with 1.23% for the MSCI World LC. The most heavily-weighted sectors in the portfolio are distilled spirits, wines, industrial machinery, and distribution. By country, the fund’s investments are focused on France, the US and the UK.
The fund holding that contributed the most to performance over the month was Treasury Wines, followed by Hawesko and Bucher Industries, while Baron de Ley, Tejon Ranch and Marie Brizard contributed the least. The fund shored up positions in two distributers which both have very compelling business growth forecasts: Diageo and Pernod Ricard.
“In the seven years since this fund was launched it has slightly outperformed the market, with lower volatility and a low correlation with the benchmark index. Our strategy has been to invest in a balanced portfolio of names in the wine industry value chain, which offset each other’s performances and allow for equity exposure whilst limiting risk,” the asset manager said.
The March International – The Family Businesses Fund A EUR returned 3.43%, compared with 1.23% for the MSCI World LC in January, with the portfolio weighted towards consumer discretionary, industrials and consumer staples. Antofagasta was a notable performer, followed by Cie Financiere Richemont and Samsung Electronics, while Sonae, Helmerich & Paine and Inditex contributed the least to the portfolio’s performance.
March International – Valores Iberian Equity A EUR fund returned 0.59%, compared with minus 0.39% for the Ibex 35. It is most heavily invested in financials, consumer discretionary and industrials. The fund has maintained its exposure to Portugal – held via Sonae and CTT-Correios de Portugal at 6.0%, with the remainder invested in Spain. Stocks like eDreams, Banco Santander and NH Hoteles have done best for the fund.
In January, the March International – Torrenova Lux A EUR fund returned -0.05%.
“We are positioned cautiously, particularly in light of the market upturn towards the end of 2016, with equity investments standing at 19.8%. We cut the weight of the industrial sector, particularly in the US, reducing our positions in Chicago Bridge & Iron, Bombardier and Boeing,” March AM said.
“However, we have increased exposure to names that have not recovered in line with the market or have seen their prices fall, such as Exxon, Roche and Teva. On the fixed income side, we have maintained our positions in floating rate notes and peripheral sovereign debt and raised the weighting of corporate commercial paper with a maximum maturity of one year. The portfolio duration was kept at 1.0 years with a yield of 0.44%,” it added.