September 2016 Performance
The bubble in the UK government bond market is beginning to show signs of stress and when it eventually bursts the losses suffered by investors are likely to be substantial. Prices have become grossly inflated across the yield curve and gilts offer little value or protection from even the lowest level of inflation. The Bank of England has contributed to the price distortion by reducing short-term interest rates to the lowest level on record, increasing the size of its quantitative easing programme and propagating an overly pessimistic outlook for the post-Brexit economy. The data released in the UK since June indicates that the economy remains largely unaffected by the vote, and is nowhere near falling over the cliff predicted by the scaremongering “Remain” campaign. Volatility in the bond market has increased and the ten-year gilt traded in a wide range of 26 bps during September, before closing at a yield of 0.75%. Losses for the month would have been greater had the US Federal Reserve not delayed hiking interest rates until after the Presidential Election. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton remain locked in an acrimonious battle for the White House and the final debates will be crucial in winning over the remaining undecided voters. Global equity markets had a mixed month and the MSCI World rose 0.36%. The FTSE 100 gained 1.74% to close at 6,899 and the S&P 500 declined -0.12%. Asian markets traded lower as both the Nikkei 225 and the Shanghai Composite lost approximately -2.50%. Commodity markets were supported by the weaker US dollar and the surprise announcement by OPEC to limit the supply of oil for the first time in eight years. History suggests that the 4th quarter has tended to be positive for equities, but given the precarious level of the bond market and sterling’s lower trading range, the need for caution is more important than ever.
ACUMEN Conservative Portfolio
The ACUMEN Conservative Portfolio returned -0.02% in September and the IA Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares sector rose 0.31%. The portfolio has returned 15.71% year to date and 20.50% since inception on 1st October 2014.
The ACUMEN Income Portfolio returned 0.30% in September and the IA Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares sector rose 0.31%. The portfolio has returned 16.22% since inception on 25th February 2016.
The ACUMEN Progressive Portfolio returned 0.09% in September and the IA Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares sector rose 0.51%. The portfolio has returned 9.89% year to date and 16.48% since inception on 9th October 2014.
The ACUMEN Adventurous Portfolio returned -0.03% in September and the IA Flexible Investment sector rose 0.91%. The portfolio has returned 15.89% since inception on 25th February 2016.