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.
While the response to climate change risk by regulators, financial institutions and publicly listed companies is welcome, it currently is not enough to ensure a safe climate. This submission provides a comprehensive assessment of the current risks relating to Australia's key export sectors.
It is estimated that 100 pairs of hands touch your clothes before they arrive in your wardrobe. That’s 100 people at risk of modern slavery, poor working conditions, and exploitation. Ethical Partners has recently signed the Investor Statement in Support of the maintenance and expansion of the Bangladesh Accord.
During March 2021 the Fund returned 3.07% versus the S&P/ASX 300 Accumulation Index of 2.30%, outperforming the market by 0.77%. An overweight position in consumer staples and an underweight position in materials contributed to relative performance while an overweight position in financials and an underweight position in consumer discretionary detracted from relative performance. The Fund is +20% over the last six months.
Globally, 15% of the population are persons with disabilities. The labor force participation rate globally for people with disabilities sits at 32.8% compared to 77.1% for those without disabilities. We believe it is imperative that investors use their shareholder voice to raise the awareness of this important diversity issue and help companies to improve their inclusion.