Satrix Dividend Plus Index Fund - Jun 19
Global equities rebounded in June as the US-China trade war ebbed and Trump backed off on some of his threats. Global growth data remained negative with further declines in PMIs. Although the 19 June Federal Open Market Committee meeting saw no rate change, it delivered a strong statement virtually promising a rate cut at the 31 July meeting.
During the second quarter of 2019, the MSCI World Index realised a gross return of just more than 4%, outperforming the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which managed a very modest return of 0.6% over the same period. Global bond yields continued to rally with US 10-year yields down to 2.01% and trading sub-2% for the first time since late 2016. US 10-year yields are down more than 125 basis points since November 2018. In the first half of 2019, the MSCI World Index delivered a total return of 17.4%, outperforming Emerging Markets (+10.8%). Within the MSCI World, North America was the best performing region with a return of 18.9%, followed by Europe’s 16.5% and the Pacific region’s 11.3%. In South Africa weak economic data dominated the post-election headlines with firstquarter GDP falling 3.2% quarter on quarter, worse than the -1.6% Bloomberg consensus. The President’s State of the Nation Address promised little more than further Eskom bailouts and progress on spectrum auctions with few details/deadlines. During the second quarter of 2019, the FTSE/JSE All Share Index (ALSI) posted a total return of 3.9% versus the 8% for the first three months of 2019. SA Financials was the best performer, returning 5.4%, followed by SA Industrials with a total return of 4%. SA Resources only managed a gain of 2.4% in the second quarter after the large 17.8% total return in the previous quarter. The FTSE/JSE All Bond Index (ALBI) returned 3.7% after posting a similar return of 3.8% in the first quarter. SA Property managed to outperform bonds, posting a total return of 4.5%. Among the other important indices the FTSE/JSE Shareholder Weighted Index (SWIX) (+2.86%) performed in line with the FTSE/JSE Capped Shareholder Weighted All Share Index (Capped SWIX) (+2.90%).
In the first half of 2019, SA Equities was the best performing asset class, with the ALSI delivering a total return of 12.2%. SA Bonds gained 7.7%, whilst SA Property was the worst performing asset class with a total return of 6%. Cash posted a total return of 3.6%.
Portfolio performance, attribution and strategy
Globally, factor performance has reflected investor risk aversion but not in such a clear way that sectors have, as style volatility has increased masking trends in performance. Putting aside Growth, which has clearly been a consistent performer across markets, the poor performance year to date of both Value and Low Risk has been curious. Value is typically seen as the pro-risk/cyclical style, while Low Risk is the opposite and indeed, over the past six months, they have been negatively correlated. However, what we have seen is more rotation in these two styles as investor risk aversion has changed, but they have both been trending down. On a short-term basis, exposure in both styles has provided diversification but over the longer term this has been more problematic. The negative performance trend in these styles mirrors the general risk-on positioning of markets of the past six months.
After Value signals domestically delivered an overall strong 2018 and first-quarter 2019 performance, the factor saw some profit-taking and rotation into Momentum strategies. The more defensive Dividend yield strategy felt most of the pain as the cyclical environment saw investors’ preference for high-yielding securities fall over the quarter. Price to Book struggled over the quarter but still maintains a positive 12- month spread given a fantastic recent run. Once again, a sector effect cannot be ignored as the positive market sentiment largely focused on Financial and Industrial counters (less value exposure) rather than Resources (more value exposure).
In terms of stock selection, the largest contributions to outperformance over the quarter came from not holding Sasol (SOL) as well as overweight positions in Telkom (TKG), Kumba Iron Ore (KIO), African Rainbow Minerals (ARI) and ABSA (ABG). Detractors in relative performance came from overweight positions in South32 (S32), Glencore (GLN), Pioneer Foods (PGF) and Imperial (IPL).
The fund’s positioning remains heavily overweight Resources relative to the SWIX index despite the market leadership in Resources over the recent period. In terms of constituent changes, there were no changes to the index, as this strategy rebalances in March and September.
The investment objective of the portfolio is to provide investors with income and capital growth in the medium to long term by tracking the FTSE/JSE Dividend + Index as closely as possible. The Manager shall seek to achieve this by investing in shares listed on the JSE as well as assets in liquid form. The combination of shares will enable the investment manager to track the performance of the FTSE/JSE Dividend + Index (J259) or whatever replaces it, with prior approval from the registrar. When investing in derivatives, the Manager will adhere to prevailing derivative regulations.