A range of different material

The content of the Investment Reader consists of a range of different material – daily comments, weekly and monthly round-ups, Q and As with leading investors, charts of the week, plus portfolio and market updates.  The great majority of the Q and As are deliberately kept short – 6-8 questions identifying the key thoughts of those being questioned. Some members of my panel may be asked to update their views every month. Others I only contact when I think they might have something particularly pertinent to say. On other occasions I will put questions about a particular issue to three or four different participants simultaneously. The one common element is that all my Q and As consist of original material.

A warning signal from small cap stocks

A research note by Lowry’s Corporation highlights the dramatic way in which small cap shares have underperformed their bigger brethren this year, reversing a longstanding trend that can be traced back as far as 1998. (The trend was broken for a few months when the 2008 financial crisis broke, but it soon resumed). Markets reverse course all the time, so what is special about this particular change in trend? The answer is that it may have something to say about the durability and vulnerability of the current bull market in equities.

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July 31, 2014

No threat yet to global profits

There has been widespread fears that the decline in government bond yields this spring is signaling that the global economy is headed south. We disagree. The decline in yields reflects a number of factors, from falling inflation expectations, increased odds of more reflation from the ECB and the Fed’s signaling that it will leave policy rates below their equilibrium level once it finally gets around to raising interest rates. These factors have pushed government bonds into expensive territory.

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May 31, 2014

Q and A: Sandy Nairn

Sandy Nairn, the CEO of Edinburgh Partners, has been a regular contributor to Independent Investor over the years, making several highly prescient calls along the way. He was extremely cautious in November 2007, just as the markets were starting to anticipate the full extent of the banking crisis, and bullish once more in March 2009, when the equity markets finally bottomed out after the severe 2007-09 bear market. Two years ago he made the case for investing in Japan. In the first part of our latest interview he argues that investors are overpaying for perceived safety: government bonds and companies with stable earnings are much more vulnerable to disappointment and capital loss than investors appear to appreciate.

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April 23, 2013

Q and A: Richard Buxton

Richard Buxton has been Head of UK Equities at Schroders for the past ten years and someone whose views on the UK stock market I have followed for nearly twice that time. His UK Alpha Plus Fund, a concentrated portfolio of some 30 large and midcap stocks, selected on the basis of in-house research, as risen in value by 163% since its launch in 2002 and ranks fourth of 191 funds in the All Companies sector over that period. This is his current take on where the markets sit.

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February 15, 2011

Q and A: James Anderson

James Anderson, CIO of the Scottish fund group Baillie Gifford from 2006 to 2010, has been managing the Scottish Mortgage investment trust for the past 11 years and is a regular contributor to Independent Investor. In our latest Q and A he offers this notably upbeat assessment of the current outlook for equity investors. Scottish Mortgage is a global generalist trust that has produced a total return of 102% over the past ten years.

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January 31, 2011

Q and A: Colin McLean

Colin McLean founded the fund management house SVM Asset Management, based in Edinburgh, 20 years ago and was one of the professional investors featured in my book Money Makers. An experienced stockpicker, in this Q and A he describes his current thoughts on the markets and how he is positioning his portfolios.

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October 22, 2010

Q and A: Jonathan Ruffer

What follows is the edited transcript of my interview with Jonathan Ruffer, the founder of Ruffer Investment Management (now Ruffer LLP). It forms the basis of my recent article in The Spectator. The firm’s flagship Total Return fund, which aims to provide consistent positive returns in all market conditions, has trebled in value (dividends reinvested) since its launch in 2000.

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October 14, 2010

Q and A: Michael MacPhee

Small funds and investment trusts that fly below the media radar can sometimes offer better returns for discerning investors than many bigger and better known counterparts backed by heavy marketing spend. One example is Mid Wynd International, a £60m investment trust managed since 1998 by Michael MacPhee, a partner at Edinburgh-based Baillie Gifford. The trust, which targets stocks that are too specialist to sit comfortably in Baillie Gifford’s two larger investment trusts, Scottish Mortgage and Monks, has returned 75% over ten years, three times the return of the FTSE All-Share index over the same period. Michael MacPhee gives his latest views in this Q and A.

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September 28, 2010

Q and A: Guy Monson

Guy Monson is the London-based Chief Investment Officer and Managing Partner of Sarasin & Partners, the Swiss private bank and fund management business. Sarasin was one of the first fund companies to embrace global thematic investment. Guy is one of the professional investors whose views I monitor on a regular basis. In this Q and A, he makes the case for quality equities being the new “risk-free asset”.

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September 10, 2010