RUFFER INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED
(a closed-ended investment company incorporated in Guernsey with registration number 41996)
Attached is a link to the Investment Monthly Report for October 2019.
During October, the net asset value of the Company declined by 1.3%. This compares with a fall of 1.4% in the FTSE All-Share index.
October saw a continuation of many of the trends from September. The storm clouds that had gathered over the summer months continued to clear, even if only temporarily. There now appears to be a path to a Brexit deal, Presidents Xi and Trump appear to be making headway in trade negotiations and the US Federal Reserve is providing enough liquidity to markets. This resulted in a positive return for most asset classes, depending on their base currency. The outcome was markedly different for the sterling investor, with the pound's appreciation of 5% creating a significant headwind.
Despite this improvement in sentiment, many market participants remain almost certain we are heading into a global recession. The New York Federal Reserve calculates the bond market apportions a 40% probability of a recession - the same reading as in 2007/2008. Should recessionary fears prove founded, bonds will help, but not much, gold may prove better. Defensive equities may assist, but they are already expensive. We believe the answer lies in the unconventional assets in the portfolio, the strategies that are designed to appreciate in value if real cracks are seen in the economy and thus provide meaningful protection against economic recession. This underlines our determination genuinely to protect clients' capital, even though holding such assets can sometimes feel uncomfortable. In the meantime, and while we wait, we must consider the possibility the world does not tip into recession, or does so only briefly. It is here the portfolio's equities - many of them out of favour merely for the sin of doing business in the real economy- will play a strong role as their reliable cashflows come back into favour.
Closer to home, with a Brexit deal negotiated and an imminent election, it is possible UK-specific risks could clear abruptly. This has informed our recent increase in domestic UK equities: absent political noise sterling would likely continue to strengthen, and global bond yields may continue to rise. Equities (such as Lloyds or Land Securities) will no longer carry a leper's bell, and will have the added advantage of protecting the inflation-linked bonds in the portfolio.
Praxis Fund Services Limited
DDI: +44(0)1481 755584
Email: [email protected]
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