Ninepoint Global Infrastructure Fund

March 2019 Commentary

Year-to-date to March 31, the Ninepoint Global Infrastructure Fund generated a total return of 12.98% compared to the MSCI World Core Infrastructure Index, which generated a total return of 13.11%. For the month, the Fund generated a total return of 4.04% while the Index generated a total return of 4.85%. After an extremely disappointing Q4 in 2018, the broad markets posted the best first quarter returns since 1998. Sectors traditionally associated with infrastructure assets (utilities, industrials, energy and real estate) generated particularly strong gains to start the year.

As we discussed in our previous monthly update, the rally has been driven by multiple expansion as forward earnings estimates only now look to be bottoming. In fact, Q1 earnings will likely come in flat to slightly down on a year over year basis, before growth reaccelerates through the balance of 2019. The market, acting as a forward discounting mechanism, has rallied as global recession fears faded, sentiment improved, and a few key economic indicators showed early signs of reacceleration.

Although the US-China trade war has clearly had an impact on economic activity in the first quarter of 2019, China has been aggressively stimulating its economy, which seems to be having the desired effect. After three months of contraction, the Caixin China Manufacturing PMI rose to 50.8 in March, from 49.9 the previous month, beating expectations of 50.1. Corroborating the return to economic expansion, the Official NBS Manufacturing PMI in China rose to 50.5 in March from a three-year low of 49.2 in February, beating expectations of 49.5. In the United States, the ISM Manufacturing PMI also improved in March to 55.3 from 54.2 in February, versus expectations of 54.5. Trade negotiations appear to be going well and most commentators are expecting some form of a deal to be completed by the end of April.

Adding further support to the rally, the US Federal Reserve completely and officially pivoted from hawkish to dovish (almost unbelievably over the span of just a few months) at its FOMC meeting on March 20. In addition to leaving the benchmark funds rate unchanged in a range of 2.25% to 2.50%, they indicated that no additional rate hikes would be coming in 2019 and the balance sheet roll-off program (quantitative tightening) would be completed by the end of September. Interestingly, the market has extrapolated this dovishness and has priced slightly more than a 50% chance of an interest rate cut by the end of 2019, but we believe that these odds overstate the likelihood of lower rates in 2019.

As bond prices quickly adjusted to the messaging from the FED, a forward-looking recession indicator was triggered with the inversion of the 3-month to 10-year yield curve (although the more widely-watched 2-year to 10-year yield curve remained positive). Thankfully, the 3-month to 10-year yield curve quickly steepened and will likely prove to be a false signal in terms of predicting a recession within the next 12 to 18 months. We will be diligently watching consumer confidence and jobless claims for any signs of an impending economic downturn, but for now low interest rates will serve to boost economic activity and support continued earnings multiple expansion.

Top contributors to the year-to-date performance of the Ninepoint Global Infrastructure Fund by sector included Industrials (+397 bps), Utilities (+298 bps) and Real Estate (+225 bps) while top detractors by sector were limited to the Financials (-21 bps).

Source: Ninepoint Partners

Given the impressive performance of the Utilities sector year-to-date and full valuation levels, we have reduced our exposure well below market weight. Instead, we have allocated capital to the Information Technology, Communication, Industrials and Energy sectors in line with our “total-infrastructure” approach.

Source: Ninepoint Partners

At the stock specific level, top contributors to the year-to-date performance included ONEOK (+90 bps), Pembina Pipeline (+87 bps) and American Tower (+53 bps). Top detractors year-to-date included Intercontinental Exchange (-23 bps), Engie (-18 bps) and Northland Power (-17 bps).

In March, our top performing investments included American Tower (+45 bps), ONEOK (+ 34 bps) and Crown Castle (+31 bps). Top detractors in March included Northland Power (-16 bps), Enbridge (-9 bps) and American Electric Power (-9 bps).

The Ninepoint Global Infrastructure Fund was concentrated in 31 positions as at March 31, 2019 with the top 10 holdings accounting for approximately 33.5% of the fund. Over the prior fiscal year, 29 out of our 31 holdings have announced a dividend increase, with an average hike of 16.0%. Using a total infrastructure approach, we will continue to apply a disciplined investment process, balancing valuation, growth and yield in an effort to generate solid risk-adjusted returns.

Jeffrey Sayer, CFA


1 All returns and fund details are a) based on Series F units; b) net of fees; c) annualized if period is greater than one year; d) as at March 31, 2019; e) 2011 annual returns are from 09/01/11 to 12/31/11. The index is 100% MSCI World Core Infrastructure NR (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: capital depletion risk; concentration risk; credit risk; currency risk; cybersecurity risk; derivatives risk; exchange traded funds risk; foreign investment risk; income trust risk; inflation risk; interest rate risk; liquidity risk; market risk; regulatory risk; securities lending, repurchase and reverse purchase transaction risk; series risk; short selling risk; small company 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), other charges and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing. The indicated rate of return for series F units of the Fund for the period ended March 31, 2019 is based on the historical annual compounded total return including changes in unit 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.

The opinions, estimates and projections (“information”) contained within this report are solely those of Ninepoint Partners LP and are subject to change without notice. Ninepoint Partners makes every effort to ensure that the information has been derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, Ninepoint Partners assumes no responsibility for any losses or damages, whether direct or indirect, which arise out of the use of this information. Ninepoint Partners is not under any obligation to update or keep current the information contained herein. The information should not be regarded by recipients as a substitute for the exercise of their own judgment. Please contact your own personal advisor on your particular circumstances. Views expressed regarding a particular company, security, industry or market sector should not be considered an indication of trading intent of any investment funds managed by Ninepoint Partners. Any reference to a particular company is for illustrative purposes only and should not to be considered as investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell nor should it be considered as an indication of how the portfolio of any investment fund managed by Ninepoint Partners is or will be invested. Ninepoint Partners LP and/or its affiliates may collectively beneficially own/control 1% or more of any class of the equity securities of the issuers mentioned in this report. Ninepoint Partners LP and/or its affiliates may hold short position in any class of the equity securities of the issuers mentioned in this report. During the preceding 12 months, Ninepoint Partners LP and/or its affiliates may have received remuneration other than normal course investment advisory or trade execution services from the issuers mentioned in this report.

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Historical Commentary