Year-to-date to September 30, the Ninepoint Focused Global Dividend Class generated a total return of 9.76% compared to the S&P Global 1200 Index, which generated a total return of 8.39 (CAD)%.
Returns in the month of September were good on both an absolute and relative basis, with the Fund generating a total return of 0.55% while the benchmark generated a total return of -0.26%. In September, the US 10-year bond yield rallied from 2.85% to 3.06%, crossing the key psychological level of 3.0%, which acted as a headwind for the equity markets. Our investments in the Industrials, Healthcare and IT sectors performed well and offset weakness in the Financials and Energy sectors.
As we write this commentary, the broad equity markets are in selloff mode, down more than 5% from the September peak. In just one week, the S&P 500 earnings multiple on 2019 estimates de-rated a full point, from approximately 17.3x to 16.3x. It is always difficult to pinpoint the exact trigger for a correction but the rapid rise in US 10-year bond yields, more hawkish than anticipated FED language, escalating trade friction between the US and China and concerns regarding the pending earnings season are all weighing on investor sentiment.
However, we believe that it is too early to position for an outright downturn. Economic data remains robust (global GDP is expected to grow 3.7% in both 2018 and 2019 according to the IMF) and 2019 should be another year of double digit earnings growth (consensus estimates imply 10.2% growth). Positive seasonality for the markets should kick in by the end of October (gains in November and December occur 75% of the time based on data from the past twenty years), the midterm elections should prove to be benign (on average markets rally 7% from August 31 to year-end around midterms based on history) and the pending third quarter earnings season will likely be better than feared.
Our modelling indicates that the Canadian dollar should continue to weaken in 2018. However, with Canada now joining Mexico in agreeing to a new trilateral trade agreement with the United States, we anticipate some near term Canadian dollar strength. Further, the equity market selloff has introduced a new level of complexity to our FX analysis as prior correlations become less statistically significant. We have therefore hedged half of our USD/CAD exposure to reduce volatility in the Fund.
Top contributors to the year-to-date performance of the Ninepoint Focused Global Dividend Class included Mastercard (+197 bps), Microsoft (+166 bps) and Visa (+139 bps). Top detractors year-to-date included Brookfield Asset Management (-47 bps), MGM Resorts International (-41 bps) and Affiliated Managers Group (-30 bps).
The Ninepoint Focused Global Dividend Class was concentrated in 28 positions as at September 30, 2018 with the top 10 holdings accounting for approximately 43.7% of the fund. Over the prior fiscal year, 21 out of our 28 holdings have announced a dividend increase, with an average hike of 15.4%. We will continue to apply a disciplined investment process, balancing various quality and valuation metrics, in an effort to generate solid risk-adjusted returns.
Jeffrey Sayer, CFA
1 All returns and fund details are a) based on Series F shares; b) net of fees; c) annualized if period is greater than one year; d) as at September 30, 2018; e) 2015 annual returns are from 11/25/15 to 12/31/15. The index is S&P GLOBAL 1200 TR (CAD) and is computed by Ninepoint Partners LP based on publicly available index information.
The Fund is generally exposed to the following risks. See the prospectus of the Fund for a description of these risks: ADR risk; Capital depletion risk; Capital gains risk; Class risk; Credit risk; Currency risk; Cybersecurity risk; Derivatives risk; Exchange traded funds risk; Foreign investment risk; Inflation risk; Interest rate risk; Liquidity risk; Market risk; Securities lending, Repurchase and reverse repurchase transactions risk; Series risk; Short selling risk; Specific issuer risk; Tax risk.
Ninepoint Partners LP is the investment manager to the Ninepoint Funds (collectively, the “Funds”). Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees, performance fees (if any), and other expenses all may be associated with investing in the Funds. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing. The indicated rate of return for series F shares of the Fund for the period ended September 30, 2018 is based on the historical annual compounded total return including changes in share value and reinvestment of all distributions and does not take into account sales, redemption, distribution or optional charges or income taxes payable by any unitholder that would have reduced returns. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. The information contained herein does not constitute an offer or solicitation by anyone in the United States or in any other jurisdiction in which such an offer or solicitation is not authorized or to any person to whom it is unlawful to make such an offer or solicitation. Prospective investors who are not resident in Canada should contact their financial advisor to determine whether securities of the Fund may be lawfully sold in their jurisdiction.
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