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Artemis UK Select Fund

All data as at 28 February 2017 except where specified
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The fund’s aims

The fund aims to provide long-term capital growth by investment in companies listed, quoted and/or traded in the UK and in companies which are headquartered or have a significant part of their activities in the UK which are quoted on a regulated market outside the UK.

Current prices and yield
(class I)

As at noon, 22 March 2017
Bid price (acc units)515.86p
Bid price (dist units)501.36p
Offer price (acc units)524.78p
Offer price (dist units)510.03p
Historic yield (acc units)2.46%
Historic yield (dist units)n/a

Investment information
(class I)

Minimum lump sum investment£250,000
Ongoing charge (acc units)0.83%
Ongoing charge (dist units)0.83%

The initial charge is currently waived. The ongoing charge includes the annual management charge of 0.75% and is shown as at the date of the Key Investor Information Document (KIID), where a full explanation of the fund's charges can be found.

Fund managers’ update

February saw a marked change in sector leadership in the UK market, as a fall in global bond yields, coupled with Kraft Heinz’s audacious bid for Unilever, encouraged investors to rotate back into sectors that had lagged amid the ‘Trump rally’. This sector rotation combined with the fund’s underweight position in Unilever saw it underperforming the market over the month. It returned 2.2% versus a 3.1% rise in the in the FTSE All-Share index.

Against this backdrop, we expect central banks to tighten monetary policy.

The catalyst for the fall in bond yields was not entirely clear. Profit-taking seems the most likely answer, although commentators also pointed to teething problems for the Trump administration as well as heightened political risk in Europe: opinion polls in the Netherlands and France indicated a shift towards anti-establishment parties. Our expectation is that the dip in bond yields will prove short-lived. Recent economic data on both sides of the Atlantic indicates that growth is accelerating and inflation is picking up. Against this backdrop, we expect central banks to tighten monetary policy.

The start of the results season provided the first evidence at a stock level that the improving economic trends seen in the second half of 2016 are starting to feed through to a pickup in activity levels for some companies. International Airlines Group and industrial heat treatment company Bodycote both reported improvements in their end markets and were strong contributors to performance. Although they operate in very different industries, both are asset-intensive businesses with high operational gearing - so their profits have the potential to continue to impress if current trends can be sustained.

Elsewhere, our holdings in UK housing-related stocks continued to perform well. Results from Redrow and Galliford Try confirmed that the market for new-build homes remains buoyant. The government’s recent white paper on housing has increased our confidence that easier planning and the continued availability of the Help-to-Buy mortgage scheme (which should remain in place until at least the next election) will help underpin returns.

The main negative contribution came from our holding in Fenner. A number of oil service companies reported disappointing results, prompting it to relinquish some of the strong gains it had made in January. We remain positive on the stock and believe that Fenner’s exposure to the onshore US shale industry leaves it ideally placed to capitalise on any recovery in capital expenditure by energy companies.

Elsewhere, Interserve fell sharply after it increased the provisioning it is making against losses on its energy-from-waste construction contracts. The company’s foray into this new market has proven an expensive one, with matters not helped by its sub-contractors going into administration. Although the range of outcomes on these contracts remains wide, we believe that, following the sharp fall, a further significant provisioning - and an associated equity raise - is already in the price.

Our main activity in February was to take profits in Anglo American and Vedanta and to re-invest the proceeds in a new holding: Glencore. The result of these trades was to reduce our exposure to bulk commodities such as iron ore and metallurgical coal. Prices of both commodities are now trading significantly above their marginal cost which will encourage an increase in supply. Offsetting this, the fund’s exposure to later-cycle base metals has increased. Prices for these are much closer to their marginal cost which should limit the extent of any supply response. In turn, this should mean that their prices remain more durable.

Elsewhere, we brought a small position in Lloyds Bank following its good results. The prospect of further fines for past misconduct appears to be receding, allowing it to distribute more of its profits as dividends. It has, meanwhile, outlined detailed return and capital generation targets for the medium term. If these can be met, it should allow the company to return over 8% of its market capitalisation a year to shareholders over the coming years. Meanwhile, the government seems likely to sell the remainder of its stake in the bank over the next couple of months, removing the overhang that their holding has represented to this point.

Midway through the reporting season, we are encouraged that the improvement in economic surveys seen in recent months has started to result in stronger sales for many early cycle companies. This gives us increased confidence that momentum in economic growth is building on both sides of the Atlantic. We therefore regard the recent fall in long-dated bond yields as being temporary and so expect last year’s rotation into the financial sector and value stocks to resume. Both trends would benefit the fund.

As the government prepares to trigger Article 50, it seems reasonable to expect an increase in the number of Brexit-related headlines over the coming months as both sides outline their initial negotiating positions. In the short term, this may put further pressure on sterling. Meanwhile, we believe strong growth in consumer credit, higher nominal wages and low unemployment should mean that economic growth will prove resilient this year. We therefore maintain a significant exposure to domestic stocks in the portfolio and believe that the current uncertainty gives us an opportunity to invest in strong UK companies at low valuations. We remain of the view that our diversified portfolio of companies is well placed to deliver strong growth in earnings and dividends in the year ahead. At the same time, trading on just over 11x forecast earnings for 2017, the aggregate valuation of the portfolio remains attractive and the aggregate dividend yield of its holdings (just over 3%) is well covered.

14 February 2017

Faith in the consumer …

Ed Legget, manager of the Artemis UK Select Fund, talks about the outlook for UK consumer spending and its effect on the stockmarket. He explains why he sees value in housebuilders and selected financials.

Value of £1,000 invested at launch to 28 February 2017

Value of £1,000 invested at launch to 28 February 2017

Data from 3 April 1998. Source: Lipper Limited, data from 3 April 1998 to 1 September 2010 reflects class R accumulation units, and from 1 September 2010 to 28 February 2017 reflects class I accumulation units, bid to bid in sterling. All figures show total returns with dividends reinvested.

Net asset allocation

Net asset allocation

Source: Artemis as at 28 February 2017.

Percentage growth (class I)

12 months to 31 December1.8%12.2%0.5%37.5%11.9%
12 months to 28 February15.0%-2.9%1.5%30.5%15.3%
Please remember that past performance is not a guide to the future. Source: Lipper Limited, accumulation units, bid to bid in sterling. All figures show total returns with dividends reinvested.

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Faith in the consumer …

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Risk warnings

THIS INFORMATION IS FOR PROFESSIONAL ADVISERS ONLY and should not be relied upon by retail investors.
The fund may have a concentrated portfolio of investments.
The fund may use derivatives to protect the value of the fund, to reduce costs and with the aim of profiting from falling prices.
The fund may invest in the shares of small and medium sized companies.
FTSE International Limited (“FTSE”) © FTSE 2017. “FTSE®” is a trademark of the London Stock Exchange Group companies and is used by FTSE International Limited under licence. All rights in the FTSE indices and/or FTSE ratings vest in FTSE and/or its licensors. Neither FTSE nor its licensors accept any liability for any errors or omissions in the FTSE indices and/or FTSE ratings or underlying data. No further distribution of FTSE data is permitted without FTSE’s express written consent.
Any research and analysis in this communication has been obtained by Artemis for its own use. Although this communication is based on sources of information that Artemis believes to be reliable, no guarantee is given as to its accuracy or completeness.
Any forward-looking statements are based on Artemis’ current expectations and projections and are subject to change without notice.
Issued by Artemis Fund Managers Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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