After the calmer period in April, the VIX Index of US market volatility jumped back up into the 20s again.
The NASDAQ struggled, down around 5% over this period, as a number of high profile names were hit; Tesla fell 17%, but the established names also fell back with Amazon, Apple and Microsoft all down by around 6%. The broader market indices were steadier; the S&P 500 fell by less than 1%, as consumer staples, banks and big oil picked-up again. UK and European markets were steadier overall, most being up a per cent or so.
Under the bonnet of the fund, there was plenty of activity.
In Japan, we topped up our position in Sony, who had fallen off with their peers, both internationally and domestically in Japan. Sony is a fully diversified technology and consumer discretionary company. Aside from their highly successful Playstation platform, Sony generates huge revenues from Electronics, Financial Services, Music and Media. The business is aiming to bolster its customer base across gaming, music and films to over 1 billion users globally, a five-fold rise. Aside from the more consumer-driven aspect of the company’s revenue streams, there is potential growth opportunities in reviving their semi-conductor operations. With the well-publicised global shortage in semiconductors, the Japanese government are making significant overtures to the creation of a multi-billion dollar semi-conductor plant with Sony at the helm. Not only will this improve Japan’s security of supply but also will help further diversify Sony’s operating income into a globally critical and lucrative market.
In Europe, we topped up our holding in the Danish hearing aid manufacturer GN Store Nord and added to Euronext, whilst also taking up their rights. The Euronext business is founded on the combined stock exchanges of Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels, has recently been joined by the Borsa Italiana, which should hopefully increase revenues by 20%. The business generates a return on equity of c.35% and with Brexit and further potential headwinds for the City of London, Euronext has all the potential to consolidate and tighten its grip on pan-European trading.
The choppiness we are seeing in the markets is unlikely to go away anytime soon. McDonald’s increasing staff wages up 10% is encouraging, but only going to fan the flames of inflation and bond yields are beginning to move up again. We have identified opportunities across the market and will be ready to act as and when they arise.