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Liontrust outlook 2024

Past performance does not predict future returns. You may get back less than you originally invested. Reference to specific securities is not intended as a recommendation to purchase or sell any investment.

Peter Michaelis, Sustainable Investment:

Peter Michaelis

The foundations of our Sustainable themes have strengthened significantly. In the US, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is allocating more than $370 billion for clean technology, energy efficiency, renewables and grid infrastructure upgrades. This will accelerate what were already strong themes around resource  efficiency. In Europe, the Fit for 55 targets 55% renewable energy by 2030, and China has bold ambitions on electric vehicles and clean energy (50% electric vehicles by 2030 from 21% today and 33% renewable electricity by 2025).

 

In healthcare, the advances in gene sequencing continue to deliver breakthroughs in our ability to diagnose, prevent and treat diseases. And in cyber security, there is no let-up in demand for protection from increasingly sophisticated bad actors; for instance, ransomware attacks were up 37% last year. If we look at the valuations we are paying to access this strong growth, it is at low levels we have not seen for many years. The Liontrust SF UK Fund, for example, is trading at a 10-year low valuation versus its own history.

 

The prospects for fixed income portfolios are also attractive. As the base rate hikes start to manifest themselves into the real economy, this will reduce aggregate demand further, limiting the need for further rate hikes and cause the growth outlook to remain challenged. Given longer term yields or longer dated bonds are more correlated to the growth outlook, this should, in turn, cause yields to fall and returns to turn positive.

 

Anthony Cross, Economic Advantage:

 

Anthony Cross

 

Financial markets in 2023 have faced considerable geopolitical instability and macroeconomic uncertainty. Within the UK stock market, there has been a continued disconnect between the relative stronger performance of the larger FTSE 100 companies and the underperforming FTSE 250 and smaller companies. Consistent flows out of UK equity funds have created considerable selling pressure, particularly on smaller companies, with the result that valuations have been overly compressed and offer considerable upside when the right catalysts for a rebound emerge.

We believe 2024 may see such catalysts. In the US and Europe, there are signs that inflation is coming down and economic indicators are softening. This could mean that interest rates may have peaked. Providing there is not a hard economic landing and interest rates start to fall, the attractions of equities will increase.

 

James Inglis-Jones, Cashflow Solution:

James Inglis Jones

European markets have the potential to perform quite well. Valuation support is beginning to look reasonably attractive on our measure of company cash flows and there are no signs of the kind of inappropriate levels of corporate investment that would make us concerned about the market outlook. The technical picture is somewhat uncertain, but, taken together with an attractive valuation level, this combination in the past has resulted in, on average, good performance from equity markets and there is no reason why it would be any different this time. Bond markets have exercised unusual levels of influence over the equity market direction of late and this has tended to be good for equity markets, small caps and value stocks but less so for growth stocks. The valuation of growth stocks, however, has become more reasonable and therefore we see some potential for growth stocks, supported by strong momentum, to perform well.

 

James de Uphaugh, Edinburgh Investment Trust:

James de Uphaugh

The UK market has been put in the chiller by international investors since 2016 and has had to absorb supply from private investors and wealth managers going global and recently tip toeing back into term deposits and bonds. However, the worst of these trends are behind us and the cumulative impact has made valuations stand out cheap.

Globally, we have enduring structural competition between the US and China. The temperature on this will ebb and flow but it is enduring, inflationary and a source of potential risk. We also have numerous elections, some with populists on the ticket with erratic agendas. Against this mixed international backdrop, the UK could be a relative safe haven: the OBR anticipates we will see a modicum of growth in 2023 and our own election will be characterised by two main parties whose manifestos are relatively centrist – a benign backdrop for the UK equity market.

James Dowey, Global Innovation:

James Dowey

It has been a good year for investment returns in technology and innovative companies, which have been a bright spot in difficult markets overall.

In 2023, interest rates had a diminishing impact on technology company stocks and the technology recession bottomed. The rest of the market has begun to contend with the lagged effects of interest rate hikes, but technology companies were first in and first out. They shed hundreds of thousands of jobs, refocused on core activities and improved profitability. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence has emerged as the driver of a new technology and innovation cycle. While AI has been progressing for many years, major recent gains in computing performance mean it has now begun to diffuse across the economy.

The prospects for innovation have never been stronger, our companies are lean and focused and valuations are attractive.

Phil Milburn, Global Fixed Income:

Phil Milburn

Central banks are sticking to their “higher for longer” approach to interest rates as they want to soften labour market conditions to cure the difficult last leg of the inflation problem.

It will take a while for this higher for longer mantra to change, although restrictive monetary policy is starting to show through in a wider array of economic data.  We believe the natural consequence will be later but larger interest rate cuts and then a rapid move towards a more neutral policy stance. 

A mild recession is our central forecast for 2024. Private sector balance sheets are entering the downturn from a position of aggregate strength so this should prevent the recession from being deep.  Public sector balance sheets are more stretched, meaning there is less room for any countercyclical expansionary spending to offset any growth weakness. Instead, the burden will fall mainly on monetary policy. If the markets start to fear a deeper recession, this could create a great buying opportunity for us to move from being neutral in credit, both investment and high yield, to a strategic overweight position.

Ewan Thompson, Emerging Markets:

Ewan Thompson

The general backdrop for the asset class has been challenging in 2023 due to two key factors – the ongoing disappointment surrounding China's economic recovery after the abrupt shift away from zero-Covid and the rapid increase in global interest rates in response to elevated inflation. While China performed poorly, however, several individual markets bucked this trend with strong returns, including Taiwan, South Korea, India, Brazil and Mexico.

With emerging market valuations remaining depressed at a 25% discount to developed markets and well below their own 10-year average, the asset class is well placed to benefit from returning capital flows as growth reaccelerates and interest rates fall.

 

Mayank Markanday, Diversified Real Assets Fund:

 

Mayank Markanday

 

A resilient growth environment of 2023 will give way to a moderate slowdown as the lagged effects of interest rates start to seep into the broader economy. Interest rates have been the primary macro risk factor for real assets dictating returns over the last 12 months. We expect this to be the case for 2024, however, we see a more supportive rate backdrop which should be positive for long duration income sectors such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Global Listed Infrastructure securities. This, coupled with multi-year attractive current discounts on valuations especially when compared with the unlisted private assets, provides an attractive total return outlook. For the more demand exposed sectors, we expect energy commodities to be volatile as geopolitical risks remain heightened. We expect these risks and stabilising real yields will provide a continued bid for precious metals.

Understand common financial words and terms See our glossary
KEY RISKS

Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income generated from it can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. You may get back less than you originally invested.

The issue of units/shares in Liontrust Funds may be subject to an initial charge, which will have an impact on the realisable value of the investment, particularly in the short term. Investments should always be considered as long term. 

DISCLAIMER

This is a marketing communication. Before making an investment, you should read the relevant Prospectus and the Key Investor Information Document (KIID), which provide full product details including investment charges and risks. These documents can be obtained, free of charge, from www.liontrust.co.uk or direct from Liontrust. Always research your own investments. If you are not a professional investor please consult a regulated financial adviser regarding the suitability of such an investment for you and your personal circumstances.

This should not be construed as advice for investment in any product or security mentioned, an offer to buy or sell units/shares of Funds mentioned, or a solicitation to purchase securities in any company or investment product. Examples of stocks are provided for general information only to demonstrate our investment philosophy. The investment being promoted is for units in a fund, not directly in the underlying assets. It contains information and analysis that is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but is subject to change without notice. Whilst care has been taken in compiling the content of this document, no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made by Liontrust as to its accuracy or completeness, including for external sources (which may have been used) which have not been verified.

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