..or part three of the IT's a Christmas Carol Tale. So here it is Merry Christmas everybody's having fun, here's to the future now it's only just begun! The party is in full swing and the revellers are enjoying themselves but to recap the investment trust I mentioned in the last couple of posts continues to languish on a 20% or so discount. This is despite a decent long term track record, a 4%+ yield which I forgot to mention has increased for 29 years in a row too. Come on what is it I hear you cry - well we will get to that.
First lets look at the issue of performance which I also mentioned in the bear points yesterday. In terms of performance if we take the last three or five years and the underlying Net Asset Value Performance (NAV), this has been slightly ahead of the FTSE All Share, which is good, but toward the lower end of the sector performance, which is not so good. We also saw yesterday in share price terms that holders had underperformed the index over the last 10 year which is disappointing. Now some of this may be explained by discount movements and the drag of the expensive debt which I also mentioned yesterday and will come on to again in a moment.
Before that lets take a look at the Asset Allocation which I mentioned in the bear points as being unusual for its sector, the UK Equity Income Sector. In addition to the UK equities that they hold which are split 50/50 between FTSE and Mid / Smaller Companies they also hold around 30% of the fund in UK Property. Now this may or may not appeal, but personally I quite like exposure to equities and property as a way of growing and protecting my capital and income from the ravages of inflation. Now may be you are wary of property right now and that might put you off, but I'm not going to debate that here I'll just let their track record in this area (shown below) speak for itself.
That track record equates to an annualised total return of 13% according to the managers in the Annual report and accounts. This compares to an all in cost of the expensive debt that I mentioned (which they used to finance the properties) of around 9%. This figure is arrived at because apparently the two debentures which carry coupons of 9 3/8% & 11% were issued at a premium. Now of course if they wanted to repay these or refinance these in the short term the would also have to pay a premium which in last years reports and accounts was put at around £12m over te £40m book or par value. This is why the discount which is often stated with debt at par can be lower if you adjust the debt to market value.
Any way that is all a bit complicated and technical, but in this case it is not something you should have to worry about if you are prepared to buy and hold this one for the next 10 to 11 years or so. This is because in last years annual results the Chairman set out their plans to address the discount. Subsequently the AGM approved an ordinary resolution which requires the Board to put an Ordinary Resolution to Shareholders in 2024 in relation to the future direction of the Company, including proposals that provide an opportunity for any Shareholder to realise their investment in full at NAV, less costs, by 31 March 2027 at the latest. So with this in place you know you can look forward to the discount of 20% being closed over the next ten year which will give your returns around a 2% per annum tail wind. In addition as the debentures roll off in 2021 & 2026 any potential dilution from paying a premium to refinance them should have disappeared. Thus unlike most active funds which start off 1 to 2% behind due to costs this one in share price terms should at least be about 1% ahead if the discount reduced in a straight line, which odf course it probably won't.
Also Worth noting that to take advantage of the low rates for long term money, they have also borrowed £15 million from Santander UK plc for ten years at a rate of 4.5% p.a. including all costs. The money is being invested in properties with yields well above this, and it replaces the original £5 million loan arranged in February 2015. It enables them to look forward to their dividend prospects in the current
year with some confidence, although at the moment they said it was too early to make a forecast.
Summary & Conclusion
Sorry if that was all a bit boring and dull, but then it is a bit of a boring and dull idea and as I said before not one for Tiny Tim traders as it is unlikely to provide much excitement in the short term apart from the latest dividend of 2.6p which is due to go XD on 29/12/16. However, if you want some good Value & Income (VIN) from UK Equity & Property holdings then this could be a good one to lock away for the next tern years. In the meantime you should then be able to enjoy a 4% and likely growing yield which is now being paid out quarterly. If that has tempted you to join me as a shareholder in this one then I suggest you take a look at their website here and you should certainly take a look at the report and accounts which I attach below. Finally all that leaves is for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
...or Part 2 of IT's a Christmas Carol. I left you yesterday with a look at the long term track record of this UK Investment Trust. Despite this track record and the shares currently yielding over 4% Mr. Market or Scrooge has seen fit to offer this one on a discount of a little over 20%. This may help to explain some of the share price underperformance in the last 10 years which is shown above and like yesterdays graph, is extracted from their report and accounts.
Currently there are a number of potential explanations for this discount which I'll mention in passing today before we take a look into the future with the final part of this trilogy. As I want to keep this brief I'll cover some of the bear points in bullet point form as follows:
Against that I think their Investment Philosophy seems quite sensible to me:
Our investment approach is shaped by six core beliefs. By following these principles we aim to maximise clients' portfolio returns while minimising their investment risk:
While on Portfolio construction they say:
"We like our portfolios to reflect the conviction behind our best investment ideas. Hence within UK equities we concentrate the holdings on between 30 and 40 stocks. Around 50% will be invested in small and mid cap stocks and 50% in FTSE 100 stocks. Our portfolios tend to have a higher than average yield compared to the overall index. Individual sector weightings reflect our stock selection process. However we do tilt sector positions in accordance with our macroeconomic views. Each portfolio is regularly reviewed by the investment team."
I also note that the two main investment managers between them own around £15m of stock, while the Chairman has around £1.9m so their interests should be aligned with shareholders. I'll ave more to say on that in the final part when we look into the future.
So there is a brief update on the current position, with a lot to like but equally, quite a few issues that help to perhaps explain why this one is a little unloved by Scrooge, despite their best efforts, a bit like Bob Cratchit in a Christmas Carol. Now if that has not put you off do check back for the third and final instalment when I'll take a look into the future and how this might resolve in a profitable fashion. However, be warned if you are a Tiny Tim trader don't come back expecting to find short term gains this is very much a long term buy and hold story which will hopefully stand the test of time like the original Christmas Carol.
...about an Investment Trust based on the Dicken's story which is popular at this time of year. So without further ado here is the first part teaser of the ghost of Christmas past as it were. So as it is the festive season and as they say a picture paints a thousand words - I'll leave you today with a picture of the past of this Trust. Hopefully see you back here later this week for the present and the future installments if this has whetted your appetite?
With the fall in Sterling this year investing Overseas has been a profitable strateguy this year. However, with the rapid rise in the US$ and the general view that US Equities look expensive I wouldn't personally be chasing US equities or looking to add US exposure just now.
Personally I'm still more tempted by some of the value on offer in Emerging Markets given the falls in some of their currencies and the valuations on offer. I wrote some pieces on this last year which you can access here and indeed the JP Morgan Global Emerging Markets Income Trust (JEMI) has worked nicely for me this year.
Looking at the performance of Emerging markets this year you might think you have missed it. I did however read another interesting piece the other day from Research Associates talking about this called - The Emerging Markets Hat Trick: Time to Throw Your Hat In?
So there you go some food for thought on potential asset allocatio decisions. In the meantime as it's approaching Christmas and the market is getting quiet and I'm feeling generous I might see if I can do a few investment trust specials again next week which could provide a few more Christmas Crackers for you. So don't forget to check back next week in between all your parties etc. - cheers.
..or the latest update to the Monthly timing indicators for the UK equity market. At the end of November most of the main indices (based on their total returns indices) were still around 5% above their 10 month moving averages and therefore still indicating a bullish trend. The Mid 250, in a turnaround from the last few years, continues to be the only laggard by being only 3% or so above its moving average as it continues to suffer something of a post Brexit hangover.
Meanwhile over in the US, the Unemployment rate, the other recession indicator that I'm keeping an eye on has spiked down to 4.6% taking it below its moving average again. This is supportive in this case as we are looking for a decisive break of this above its 12 month moving average to indicate the risk of a coming recession in the US which would then likely affect UK and other stock markets negatively.
This follows on from the bullish moves in the US stock market which has been prompted by the Trump election victory and hopes of a fiscally led reflation. In addition to the stronger employment picture other US statistics have shown stronger wage growth, consumer confidence and exports which seem likely to lead to upgrades to Q3 GDP to over 3%, which would be the fastest rate in over 2 years. So if anything the US economy seems to be going from stumbling along to a bit more strength in the short term with hopes of more growth and inflation next year, as is being discounted by moves in bond and equity markets - if Trump delivers on his manifesto promises. This is by no means guaranteed though as possibly indicated by this article. It does also mean the the long awaited Federal reserve rate rise is now almost certain this month with possibly more to come next year.
Despite all the bullishness surround the election of Donald Trump I did see one possibly spurious correlation or statistic that someone came up with regarding the election of a President after a two term president. In this piece that appeared on Zerohedge and noted that since 1910, the US economy is either in recession or enters a recession within twelve months in every single instance at the end of a two-term presidency… effecting a 100% chance of recession for the new President.
So that might indicate that things could be less bullish than the current economic news and market moves suggest, but given the limited data points etc. I'm not too sure about this indicator. What was of more interest perhaps though was an interesting video from the author of the original piece Raoul Paul, a Hedge fund manager, on his thoughts about using cycles to predict economies, stock markets, interest rates and commodities. Sounds too good to be true I know, but there is some good stuff in here and well worth 40 minutes of your time if you can spare it. It also reminded me about the usefulness of the ISM index as a predictor of recessions with associated probabilities so I'll be adding that to the list of things on my recession watchlist going forwards.
If you want to learn more about that and his thoughts on cycles you can either view the video in the original piece above or in the video below. Finally a hat tip to the excellent John Mauldin and his useful weekly Thoughts from the front line which is what put me onto these pieces in his recent post titled - What Should Trump Do? This is a free newsletter which is well worth signing up for if you have not already done so.
So there you go none of the indicators discussed above, apart from the questionable President following a two term one, suggest an imminent recession in the US, so for now I'll continue to ride the bull until such time as these indicators signal that there may be trouble ahead. All that leaves me is to wish you Happy investing and a Merry Christmas just in case I don't get around to posting again before then.