News & Events
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– In the first half of 2023, developed economies showed signs of resilience, driven by robust company results. However, emerging economies faced challenges such as rising inflation, capital outflows, and geopolitical risks. Central banks grappled with the delicate task of balancing economic growth and controlling inflation. Global stock markets experienced volatility, with intermittent gains and corrections amid concerns about inflation, interest rates, and monetary policies.
– On the funds side, 100% of the range recorded positive performances, led by equity long only funds with an average of +20% YTD across the range. On the bonds side, the 2 opportunistic global Ucits funds (Short Term and Long Term) are now registered as Article 8. The long term portfolio has a yield to maturity of +9.25% in EURO (+11.06% in USD) per year. The fund is now rated 5 stars by Morningstar over 3 year and 5 years.
– Equity investors faced difficulties last month with only a select few companies supported by the “artificial intelligence” theme outperforming. While the broader market grappled with recession concerns and uncertainties surrounding US debt ceiling negotiations. Additionally, negative news persisted as China’s recovery is taking longer than anticipated, and Germany unexpectedly entered a technical recession in Q1, experiencing two consecutive quarters of negative growth. On the bonds side, major indices posted losses in May. The heated debate around the US debt ceiling fuelled volatility in rates and spreads.
– In the last few weeks we have noticed record attendances for some of our events, particularly on Equity Quality Growth. As we are heading into the summer, activities will slow down, nevertheless do let us know any interest to meet or for an update with the investment teams.
– Since April, markets are relatively quiet despite concerns in the banking sector, the ongoing pressures from inflation and rates. US and European equities outperformed in April while China continued to suffer. On the Fixed Income side, indices rose as volatility slowly receded from the peaks of March.
– In terms of client queries, the team has been particularly active on Equity Large Caps funds (Quality bias) and funds securing the high yields available curently in the market.
– As most investors are still expecting for an end to the Fed’s interest-rate increases, March saw a significant rise in market volatility due to turmoil in the banking sector (Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and Credit Suisse). The fear of contagion and recession caused investors to review their expectations, markets pricing for US interest cuts before the end of the year, while policymakers keeping rates at least at the current level to continue to fight inflation.
– In this environment, most equity funds in the range returned positive performances while fixed income funds underperformed in March. Despite low volumes, we are seeing increasing activity year-to-date from asset managers and investors preparing the grounds for reallocations. We are spending lots of time with investors providing insights and markets analysis.
K Women Leader’s tips in Paris with Claire Martinetto, Chairwoman of the Board at Ecofi
– Recent events this month have challenged the positive scenario that investors were expecting at the beginning of the year. Volatility and noise across markets are bound to continue in the weeks and months ahead. Looking back to February, Global equities lost close to 3% with very contrasting performances across regions (Europe overall positive, USA negative, EM negative,…). On the bonds side, February saw major bond indices gave up some of the recent gains. The Ukraine war marked one year and shows little signs of distension. Overall most funds’ performances were in negative territory for February, nevertheless still positive year to date on the back of a record January.
– On a small positive note, the flow of good news from the hydrogen sector continues unabated: record sales, new projects to produce carbon-free steel using hydrogen, two French groups have signed an agreement to deploy 100 hydrogen stations across Europe. In Spain and Portugal, several green hydrogen production projects have been launched with public or private funding. In Australia, researchers have developed an electrolyser that uses seawater (to date, electrolysers need demineralised water to operate), thus saving freshwater resources and reducing the cost of producing green hydrogen. The hydrogen theme continues to attract more and more investment worldwide, as the transition to a low-carbon world will require huge quantities of green hydrogen.
– 2023 started positively for Fixed Income as the combination of Central Banks tightening policies and the market sell-off generated unique opportunities for investors. On the equities side, the beginning of the year was also marked by a reversal of the trends that prevailed in 2022. All-in, the Nasdaq rose +10.6%, its best performance in January since 2001. Economic data do not point to any imminent major economic weakness, fuelling hopes of a “soft landing” for the global economy.
– Hence all funds in the range returned strong positive performances, from +2,6% to +14,6%.
– Overall, bond indices posted gains in December, with the exceptions of treasuries, concluding a tough year for Fixed Income. International equities markets closed mostly the year in negative territory. Uncertainty around growth, geopolitical conflicts, and the non-negligible risk of a resurgence in COVID cases pose the main challenges to the global outlook for 2023.
– We enter a critical phase after a very positive decade during which firms had the opportunity to strengthen their balance sheets and hoard the necessary resources to navigate through a slowdown of the economy. Given such premises, investors should rely on active managers that can shield the portfolio by selecting fundamentally sound companies and issuers.
– Across our range, 2022 performances was clearly an ‘annus horribilis’. Only the LatAm Equity fund ended the year in positive territory.