Many investors are rightfully sceptical of executive share-based compensation, particularly in the US. But the debate is typically around the adjustments made to companies’ declared earnings or the very large payments that can result, rather than a view of the absolute level of dilution and how this should change over… Read more
The thought of a ‘Brexit’ conjures up images of a drawn out, messy divorce for most – a painful process, with a net negative result. However, I believe that there are reasons to be hopeful. I think a positive analogy can be drawn between the spin-off of a company from… Read more
As the presidential race enters the final lap, rhetoric around political drug pricing remains high and the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors are lagging the broader market year-to-date. However, in my opinion, US political drug pricing fears are overstated and investors should be more concerned about commercial drug price and market… Read more
Pensions are long-term obligations. Falling interest rates have affected both the way that companies calculate the size of these liabilities, but also the assumed growth rates of the assets that they hold in order to pay those pensions.
What is quite extraordinary in my view is that QE, which now… Read more
European markets are facing a number of challenges, not least in the region’s banking sector as recent events highlighted. However, European equities are attractively valued and there are signs of an improving economic backdrop.
In the latest in our regular video series on the equities markets, Investment Director, Ritu Vohora… Read more
Why did L’Oreal spend nearly €7.4bn on advertising and promotional activity in 2015? Why does the market value L’Oreal shares at a 70% premium to the Stoxx 600? Because conventional knowledge suggests a strong brand will allow a business to attract more consumers, retain their business and generate higher gross… Read more
China’s transformation over recent decades has generated some great investment opportunities. But the challenge for investors has always been how to reach them. For many years, overseas investors have been restricted to a limited selection of Chinese companies. That’s now changing. As part of the Chinese government’s drive to raise… Read more
If you’re a sports fan, I would imagine the last six odd weeks of coverage from both Olympic games has had you frothing at the mouth, monopolising the telly and shouting down any dissenting channel opinions. Seizure of the remote control is key to the success of this strategy!
In… Read more
As investors scour the globe for yield, one consequence of the low return environment is that companies making the highest payouts to shareholders are being rewarded by the market with higher valuations. This is the opposite of previous equity bull markets where it was companies investing for growth that reaped… Read more
In the US, the clock is ticking down to November’s presidential election . . . the shock Brexit result in the UK demonstrated how voters can catch the markets unaware.
In the latest of our regular video series on the equities markets, Investment Director, Ritu Vohora provides an update… Read more
The growing disequilibrium between what bonds are implying through near-zero long-run interest rates and what equities are pricing in my view requires significant thought and attention, particularly for people saving for their pensions. I recently came across the letters of a prominent pension fund manager of the 50s and 60s,… Read more
Having grown up in Kenya and spent lots of time in the African savannah, I have always been fascinated by herd behaviour. The annual wildebeest migration sees over two million animals migrate to find greener pastures. In their quest they may be hunted, stalked and run down by larger carnivores.… Read more
Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are rapidly becoming the ‘must-have’ component of an investor’s portfolio. At the end of June, assets in ETFs hit a record high of $3.2 trillion globally according to data from research consultancy ETFGI and demand shows no signs of abating. Popular with both institutional and retail… Read more
In my recent blog and in the blog from my colleague last week, we highlighted the disruptive power of new technology companies and the importance of creating networks to organize, synthesize and expand information through social, organisational and process innovations.
I believe there are changes in… Read more
Global equity markets rallied sharply in July from their post-referendum lows, helped by better US data, supportive central banks and defensive positioning ahead of the Brexit vote.
In this, the second of our regular video series on the equities markets, Investment Director, Ritu Vohora provides an update on markets in… Read more
The Rubik’s Cube is an easy puzzle for those who know the correct ‘algorithms,’ or sequence of turns needed to align the coloured cubes – and a frustrating enigma for those who don’t. For a devoted few, the challenge is solving the puzzle as quickly as possible, which officially stood… Read more
Technology is the biggest sector in the S&P 500 index and accounts for five of the top ten largest companies. The sector is growing at a pace and scale never previously imagined and is eating into the profits of every other industry.
Tech giant Amazon is a prime example (no… Read more
In the run-up to the EU referendum many financial commentators forecast a stockmarket meltdown in the event of a leave vote, yet within days of Brexit becoming reality, stockmarkets were confounding these pundits by touching new highs.
With the FTSE 100 not following the ‘Armageddon’ script (due to defensives dominating… Read more
You wouldn’t necessarily know it, but late last month (June 2016) the Federal Reserve released the results of one of the major stress tests performed on the US banking system.
Apart from a few banking sector specialists, little attention seems to have been paid to the results of the 2016… Read more
Superficially, the healthcare sector in Europe looks attractively valued relative to consumer staples, but on a cashflow basis the relative valuation argument disappears. This may reflect more aggressive earnings adjustments in European healthcare.
In the US though, the valuation gap between healthcare and consumer staples does look more real and… Read more
Well, we were not expecting that! I refer not to the vote to leave the European Union, but to the aftermath of that decision and the fact that the FTSE 100 finished the subsequent week up nearly 4%. Neither outcome was in the script. But on reflection, perhaps the second… Read more
Global markets and the political and economic landscape were dominated last month by the unexpected result in the UK’s EU referendum.
In the first of a regular video series on the equities markets, Investment Director, Ritu Vohora looks at the Brexit effect and the likely outcomes for the UK market.… Read more
Whilst there are few direct implications for UK pharmaceuticals and healthcare companies of the UK leaving the European Union, there are some indirect benefits that have triggered sector outperformance in the past week relative to the broader UK market, and even to other defensive sectors which have outperformed, like consumer… Read more
Since the Brexit vote, the UK homebuilder index has fallen by 30% reflecting concerns that the UK economy – and the UK housing market – are headed towards negative growth.
The market is right to be worried. It’s pretty tough to argue that if the UK heads into recession the housing… Read more
Banks were hit hard yesterday in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, with trading in RBS and Barclays temporarily suspended yesterday morning. Today, the market has opened firmer with financials amongst the leading gainers emphasising the increasingly volatile world we are now inhabiting. Standing back from… Read more
Share prices in the US retail sector have declined by around 7% on average since the beginning of May compared with an advance of 1.4% for the S&P 500 (see following table). Some commentators have suggested this is an indication of weakness in the underlying health of the US consumer,… Read more
The Korean equity market is cheap. It’s always been cheap. Many things are cheap for a reason though and a key feature of the Korean market is the lack of shareholder focus and precious little alignment of interests between company management teams and minority shareholders. But to quote Robert Zimmerman… Read more
Having been in the doldrums since the financial crisis, there are now tentative signs that the European residential construction sector is on the mend. We’re seeing encouraging data coming through and from our analysis and our discussions with companies, we’re increasingly confident that the earnings growth potential in the sector… Read more
There’s an interesting passage in the book “Other People’s Money” by John Kay. In it, Professor Kay discusses the intermediation of the market and the nonsensical notion that there is anything particularly insightful to be gained from “what the market thinks” when it comes to investing in companies. In our… Read more
There are many different ways to form an investment view on a company. As my colleagues Dan White and Matt Cable discussed in a recent blog meeting company management can be both interesting and informative and for many investors pivotal to the investment decision making process. In my experience… Read more
Unexpected changes to a central bank’s reference interest rate can cause chaotic price movements. Surprise action by the Bank of Japan (BoJ) in January has driven a shift in investor beliefs. Where previously negative interest rates were not seriously considered by investors, now they are a reality.
This is an… Read more
Concerns over the health of corporate profits continue to weigh on the minds of market participants, as was evidenced in a recent Bloomberg article – ‘Plunge in US corporate profits is economic warning sign’. The article references the following chart, and suggests that a decline in corporate profits… Read more
Today is the Queen’s 90th birthday and I thought a good reason to have a look back at how UK equities have fared over almost a century. When the Queen was born in 1926, the UK economy was still struggling to recover from the First World War, there was high… Read more
A regular feature of my life is trying to focus on an IPO (initial public offering) prospectus through sleepy eyes on the 06.35 from Colchester! Unfortunately the complexity of the IPO process often means that the key document – called a ‘pathfinder prospectus’ – only turns up just before (or… Read more
Many great investors have written extensively on the power of compound interest, yet it remains a difficult concept for investors to grasp and the majority of us fail to reap its long-term rewards.
Albert Bartlett might bring to mind the weekly shop and roast dinners for UK readers, but the… Read more
Company meetings present something of a conundrum. The law rightly says that no investor should be in possession of ‘material non-public information’ when trading in shares, so both fund managers… Read more
To adjust or not to adjust? That’s the key question for companies when presenting their accounts. There’s been an increasing tendency for companies to focus on adjusted ‘non-GAAP’ (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles basis) numbers instead of the more regulated GAAP numbers. My colleague Simon Bailey highlighted this in his blog… Read more
Consumers are a demanding bunch. They want more choice, convenience and above all, a great customer experience. Yet they don’t want to pay more for the privilege! Satisfying the modern customer poses considerable challenges to today’s retailers. Can anyone but the consumer prosper in this environment?
Strong house price growth,… Read more
When the oil price began its steep descent in autumn 2014 it was heralded as the equivalent of a tax cut for the US consumer. Estimates suggested that cheaper gasoline would add an extra US$1,500 to household budgets per year and that the extra funds would fuel spending in shops,… Read more
We’ve all felt the euphoria of finding that sought-after purchase at a bargain price. And there are certainly bargains to be found in equities in the current environment. But I think investors should proceed with caution to avoid the investment equivalent of a ‘fashion faux pas’ – the bargain item… Read more
Last week, there will have been a rush of customers to jewellery stores across the UK (and the world) to purchase gifts of charm bracelets, rings, earrings and the like in time for Valentine’s Day. But as people queued to buy gifts for their loved ones, few will have been… Read more
It’s been a rollercoaster week for bank shares across the world as a confluence of factors stoked a panic in the sector. Exposure to energy, the impact of negative interest rates and worries about a recession all played a hand.
The key decision to make here is whether or not… Read more
2015 was another bumper year for income-oriented investors with companies paying out over £80 billion in ordinary dividends and an additional £5.6 billion in special dividends. 2016 looks unlikely to be plain sailing with income investors facing some difficult decisions and therefore needing to consider less traditional sources of dividends.… Read more
I was recently in San Francisco attending the biggest US healthcare investor conference and there’s little doubt that the level of innovation in the pharma and biotech industries remains very high. Many new therapies are coming to market with more genuinely novel drugs in 2015 than at any time in… Read more
I fondly remember “Don’t panic” being the catchphrase of Lance-Corporal Jack Jones in the popular 1970s sitcom Dad’s Army. ‘Jonesy’ would shout this loudly at moments of impending danger, while running round in a frantic panic himself.
While Jonesy wasn’t exactly the best Lance-Corporal, he would make an even worse… Read more
The first valuation method most investors learn is the humble Price/Earnings (P/E), as in theory it’s both easy to calculate and easy to compare across companies. Unfortunately in my experience, this is a long way from the truth due to the lack of consistency in the earnings number used.
The… Read more
Obamacare is revolutionising healthcare in the United States – the single most important market for healthcare companies in the world. This has profound implications for the outlook for these companies and as a consequence how to identify the best investment opportunities in the sector.
Half of total global healthcare spending… Read more
Consumer staples have historically been seen as largely homogeneous, offering broadly similar levels of predictable, long-term growth and cash generation. That seems unlikely to be the case going forward. Too much of the investment debate on consumer staples has been around the valuation premium they are trading on and not… Read more
Company boardrooms have undoubtedly evolved over the past twenty-odd years, but the human characteristics and traits needed to be an effective board member remain largely unchanged. A lot can be achieved with trustworthy, capable individuals, something which, in my humble opinion, is truer today than it has ever been.
Boards… Read more