In January 2020 Australian market increased 4.9%, in the second best market performance out of 48 developed and emerging equity markets around the world. This was largely due to large Australian growth and defensive stocks finding support in the face of new economic uncertainty. US ten year bond yields fell over 20% during the month, back to levels seen last August as markets feared that global growth will slow following the outbreak of coronavirus. In this environment Defensives outperformed including Healthcare stocks (that continued to be the largest contributor to market returns) along with stocks leveraged to lower bond yields such as infrastructure and REITS. Cyclicals and value oriented names underperformed during the month. “Dr Copper” the industrial metal that most closely tracks global economic growth perceptions fell more than 10% and had a14 day losing streak from mid-January, its longest losing streak in three decades.
The Fund’s top 10 overweight positions currently have a weighted average PE of 19.7x versus the Fund’s top 10 underweight stocks at a weighted average PE of 27.3x. The largest underweight positions include CSL Limited, Transurban, Newcrest, Aristrocratand Westpac. Most of these businesses have attributes that are stable or growing but have also been well recognized and hence trade at significant valuation premiums.
See attached for full report which includes our current view on CSL and Transurban.
Ethical Partners are pleased to see Australia take the next steps to implement mandatory climate reporting with the release of draft climate standards, which we provided feedback on.
Ethical Partners have continuously called for the provision of high quality, comparable data on company’s climate governance and carbon metrics, which we believe is imperative for investors to fulfil the potential of responsible investment.
Ethical Partners have been proud to have been active supporters of the TNFD Forum over the past few years, and to provide regular feedback on the development of the official TNFD recommendations, which were launched in December, as well as to be active members of the RIAA Natural Capital Working Group.