Report on Q3 2022

Report on Q3 2022

8 Oct 2022

The FTSE 250 fell by 8.0% in Q2 and is down by 25.5% year to date. The FTSE100 is down by just 2.7% year to date, a massive and, in my experience, unprecedented outperformance. On average FTSE 100 companies are larger and more international meaning that they are typically earning dollar revenues, a very good cushion in recent months.

UK ten year government bond yields began the quarter at 2.06% and ended it at 4.1%, a rout that was ludicrously attributed to a trivial mini budget. As I wrote recently, this has been coming for a long time and the cause is a combination of relentless excessive borrowing, to which the nation appears to be addicted, and blundering behaviour by the Bank of England which naturally fails to accept responsibility.

The overdue correction in government bond yields was certainly not confined to the UK. Ten year German Bund yields soared from 1.2% to 2.1% and US Treasuries more modestly from 3.02% to 3.8%.

As those yield movements imply, Europe has a bigger inflation threat because most commodities are priced in dollars. Stock investors in the US have seen most commodity prices well off their highs and are disappointed that the Fed appears to be set on continuing to dampen an economy that appears to be slowing down quite nicely. It is worth mentioning that most US commentators see a bad recession across Europe as a given.

I have been buying two year Gilts yielding above 4% in the knowledge that these represent a very viable alternative to stocks, at this difficult time, as they say when flags are flying at half mast. There is no doubt that many share prices are very low and some of them may even be cheap.

I have been looking at retailers. Sainsbury, Tesco, Halfords, Kingfisher and Pets at Home all have solid balance sheets and yield between 4.5% (Pets) and 7.5% (Sainsbury).Marks & Spencer, which must be selling hair shirts, pays no dividend for some reason but its historic free cash flow yield is 33%. Barring serious management blunders, which are of course quite possible, these companies are long term buys. I am tempted to write that there is no rush, but there never is until there is. As has been said many times, nobody rings a bell at the bottom of the market.

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