September was marked by a flurry of bad local news, but there were a few highlights in the gloom. Revelations about Eskom, KPMG, and the Public Investment Corporation did nothing for market confidence, yet the good side of the story is that a general mood of shareholder activism and a renewed focus on corporate governance has taken root. It is as if the previously silent majority has rediscovered a sense of social responsibility. Add to that some heartening statistics on GDP growth (following two consecutive quarters of contraction, economic activity expanded at a modest pace) plus an unchanged repo rate and there seems to be a small sniff of hope in the air.
18/10/2017 / Read Story
August was a funny kind of quiet month, given the drama of local politics, the mysteries of what Donald Trump will do next, North Korea’s nuclear provocation, and the unending tragicomedy of Brexit. Despite it all, markets drifted upwards seemingly without a care in the world.
Much talk in the likes of London’s Financial Times has centred on the lack of volatility in global markets. It appears that the unending supply of “free” money supplied by first-world central banks, under the guise of quantitative easing, continues to flow into “risk” assets. There is, as yet, no signal from them that this policy of supporting investment markets will stop.
As a result, international markets in general had a steady August. The standout performer was Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which was up 2.3% and is by far the best international performer this year with a return of over 27%. In rand terms, the S&P500 in the US has offered little more than break-even returns.
15/09/2017 / Read Story
Given the level of political uncertainty, July was remarkably stable in terms of overall market conditions. The JSE was helped to a large extent by improving sentiment in the greater MSCI Emerging Markets index, especially China, which made equities the top performing asset class for the month (up 7%). By contrast, property returned 3.6% in July and bonds 1.5%.
16/08/2017 / Read Story
The markets since May and during the first part of June have been marked by grim deterioration driven almost entirely by local political factors, particularly the proposed changes to the Mining Charter. Therefore, during June, we cut the net exposure of all our funds down to 60%. During July, for our Robert Falcon Scott fund, we moved away from leveraged products (CFDs) and into equities. Along with less risk, the reduced gearing also translated into lower costs.
20/07/2017 / Read Story