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Liontrust GF UK Growth Fund

November 2022 review
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.

The Liontrust GF UK Growth Fund returned 5.4%* in November. The Fund’s comparator benchmark, the FTSE All-Share, returned 7.1%.

 

Global equities recovered further in November, helped along by hopes that the pace of monetary policy tightening may be set to slow. The US Federal Reserve and Bank of England both implemented 75 basis point hikes in November, while the European Central Bank had lifted rates by the same amount at the end of October.

 

More important than the scale of this month’s moves were the comments regarding the future direction of policy. Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting meeting and comments from its Chair, Jay Powell, noted that rates may need to peak higher than previously anticipated, but also suggested that future rate hikes may be smaller and slower, as the Fed waits to observe the cumulative impact of the policy measures already taken.

 

As investors weighed up whether this should be interpreted as a hawkish or dovish message, weaker-than-expected consumer price inflation tipped them towards the latter and added fuel to the recovery in risk asset prices. Inflation for October came in at 7.7% year-on-year, the lowest since January, down from June’s peak of 9.1%, and below forecasts of 7.9%.

 

With a number of companies updating on trading on the period to 30 September, it was a busy month for portfolio newsflow, the majority of it fairly constructive.

 

The extent of WH Smith’s (+20%) recovery from its pandemic woes is illustrated by the symbolic reinstatement of its dividend. Trading improved throughout the year to 31 August, with the last two quarters’ activity being ahead of 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Sales at its Travel retail division rose 131% compared to last year’s level, easily outweighing a 2% contraction at its smaller High Street retail operation. Overall sales rose 58% to £1.4bn, and it also returned to profit (£73m) at the pre-tax level.

 

Domino’s Pizza Group’s (+27%) shares eased back earlier in the year on a weaker outlook for consumer spending and due to the impact of food cost inflation. Although margins came under pressure in the first half of the year, Domino’s has planned to pass costs on to franchisees in a lagged manner; investors will therefore be encouraged that November’s Q3 trading update maintains full-year profit guidance, suggesting its approach is working so far. Its recent sales performance has been good: like-for-like systems (excluding the impact of VAT changes) grew 2.4%, and has accelerated to 10.4% in the first six weeks of Q4.

 

The company has also continued to retreat its fledgling international operations by exercising a sell option on its German division, which it expects to generate a profit on disposal of £40m - £50m. As part a tighter capital allocation framework applied since March 2021, Domino’s also announced a new £20m share buyback.

 

The Fund’s engineers also saw some strength in November, with Rotork (+17%) leading the way. Component supply chain issues contributed to slightly slower than expected sales growth earlier in the year for the provider of flow control solutions. A November trading update showed that attempts to address these issues have begun to pay off, with direct purchasing and forward buying of semiconductors yielding improvements. Together with robust customer demand and higher selling prices, this generated organic constant currency revenue growth of 19% in the four months to 30 October.

 

Weir Group (+16%) also noted that supply chain and logistics challenges are easing, while additionally commenting that gross margins have been maintained despite input cost inflation. With commodity prices remaining elevated, Weir Group experienced strong demand for its products in Q3, particularly for aftermarket spares which saw 21% order growth.

 

Among the portfolio detractors, Paypoint (-7.4%) shares gave up some ground on news of its agreed £76m deal to buy Appreciate Group, a gift card and reward scheme provider in the UK. The cash-and-shares offer equated to an offer price of 44p a share, a 69% premium to Appreciate’s share price – a level which some Paypoint investors may have viewed as too full judging by the share price reaction.

 

TI Fluid Systems (-8.5%), a provider of highly engineered automotive fluid storage, is benefiting from a recovery in global car production, although it has lagged the uplift slightly. Q3 constant currency revenue growth was 20% in constant currency terms , 760 basis points behind the global light vehicle market’s production increase. During this period, growth was constrained by low participation in the Chinese battery electrical vehicle market, which was dominated by domestic suppliers. Investors were also disappointed that TI Fluid Systems’ pass-through of input cost increases to customers has only been partial, with further adjustments needed to mitigate margin pressures.

 

Petrofac (-22%) shares dropped on the surprise resignation of its CEO Sami Iskander, who has only been in the position since 2021. He will be replaced by Tareq Kawash, Senior VP of Onshore and Offshore at industry peer McDermott International, in March 2023. 

 

Positive contributors included:

Domino’s Pizza Group (+27%), WH Smith (+20%),  Next Fifteen Communications (-19%), Rotork (+17%) and Weir Group (+16%).

 

Negative contributors included:

Petrofac (-22%), TI Fluid Systems (-8.5%), Paypoint (-7.4%), Wood Group (-6.7%) and TP ICAP (-4.9%).

 

Discrete years' performance** (%), to previous quarter-end:

Past performance does not predict future returns

 

 

Sep-22

Sep-21

Sep-20

Sep-19

Liontrust GF UK Growth C3
Inst Acc GBP

-5.2%

25.7%

-10.2%

2.5%

FTSE All Share

-4.0%

27.9%

-16.6%

2.7%

 

 

Sep-18

Sep-17

Sep-16

Sep-15

Liontrust GF UK Growth C3
Inst Acc GBP

8.8%

10.6%

24.5%

1.0%

FTSE All Share

5.9%

11.9%

16.8%

-2.3%

 

*Source: Financial Express, as at 30.11.2022, total return (net of fees and income reinvested), sterling terms, C3 institutional class. Non fund-related return data sourced from Bloomberg.

**Source: Financial Express, as at 30.09.2022, total return (net of fees and income reinvested), primary class. Discrete data is not available for ten full 12-month periods due to the launch date of the portfolio (03.09.14). Investment decisions should not be based on short-term performance.

 

Key Features of the Liontrust GF UK Growth Fund

The investment objective of the Fund is to provide long term capital growth by investing predominantly in UK equities. The Fund invests at least 80% in securities of companies traded on the UK and Irish stock exchanges. The Fund invests predominantly in UK large and mid-cap stocks.
5 years or more.
4 (Please refer to the Fund KIID for further detail on how this is calculated)
Active
The Fund is considered to be actively managed in reference to the FTSE All Share Index (the “Benchmark”) by virtue of the fact that it uses the Benchmark for performance comparison purposes. The Benchmark is not used to define the portfolio composition of the Fund and the Fund may be wholly invested in securities which are not constituents of the Benchmark.
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 guaranteedYou 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.

Some of the Funds managed by the Economic Advantage team invest primarily in smaller companies and companies traded on the Alternative Investment Market.  These stocks may be less liquid and the price swings greater than those in, for example, larger companies. 

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. It should not be copied, forwarded, reproduced, divulged or otherwise distributed in any form whether by way of fax, email, oral or otherwise, in whole or in part without the express and prior written consent of Liontrust. 

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