During the third quarter of 2023, the return of Carmignac Portfolio Family Governed (A share class) was +0.45%, whilst its reference indicator fell -0.46% during this period. The fund posted a performance of +12.99% year to date, compared to +10.94% for its reference indicator.
The third quarter was a period dominated by rising bond yields and generally hawkish commentary from the US Federal Reserve outlining the need for policy interest rates to remain high throughout 2024, longer than previously anticipated, owing to a stronger domestic US economy and labour market. This created downward pressure on relatively highly rated stocks in the technology and consumer staple sectors, as well as heightened concern for highly indebted companies such as those in the utility and real estate sectors. In aggregate we are under exposed to these areas, which was supportive. On the negative side the best performing sector was the energy sector, where we have no exposure, which rose 14% in tandem with the commodity price.
The fund performance was also influenced heavily by large and divergent stock price performances. One of the better performing global sectors was the financial sector rising 2.5%. Ordinarily this would create a problem for us, as we typically avoid the large banks and insurance companies. However, our specific names served us well.
On the negative side, many of our consumer names were weak, including luxury goods maker LVMH, fell 18% on fears of slowing growth especially in their Fashion and Leather division, where expectations of continued mid teen growth into Q3 looked a little optimistic.
We remain cautiously positioned with 93% of the portfolio invested in stocks and allowing us for a cash buffer to take advantage of opportunities in due time. From a cyclical standpoint, 74% of the portfolio is in less cyclical names as we have derisked our portfolio over the last couple of quarters. Our focus remains in Healthcare, Industrials and Staples which represent 45%, 14% and 11% respectively.
Nevertheless, among sectors in which we have a smaller exposure, we have seen pockets of strong performance. For example, Partners Group, the private equity company led the way, rising 23%, and was one of our better names in the period. They demonstrated better than expected profitability with their first half results, including a strong contribution from performance fees despite a tough market environment. Furthermore, their commentary implied an improving environment with high confidence on meeting existing guidance for new asset growth of $17-22bn, as well as increasing contribution from future performance fees underpinning future profitability. Our other financial holdings, US insurance broker Brown & brown, and Mastercard also delivered solid results and saw their stocks rise 5% and 4% respectively.
Within healthcare, the diabetes and obesity theme continued to be a performance driver. The leading providers of GLP-1 drugs to treat diabetes and obesity, Novo Nordisk, and Eli Lilly, rose 20% and 18%, as the momentum in these therapeutic areas remained extremely strong, as we have remarked on at length in previous quarterly reports. Despite their strong stock performances in 2023 we believe this momentum will continue for many years to come and maintain holding sizes in each of around 8% in each. Among other healthcare names that performed well over the quarter, Chinese company Wuxi Biologics, the contract manufacturer of drugs for the pharmaceutical industry, rose 26%. Having previously guided to only low teen revenue growth for the period, they in fact delivered 18%. In addition, new projects signed were a little better than expected with 46 signed bringing the total to 621 across all stages of clinical development and including 22 new manufacturing contracts – better than expected. Furthermore, the company confirmed medium term guidance and said they expect the biologics contract manufacturing market to grow above 10% compounded per annum until 2030 at least. The stock had been weak mainly due to negative Chinese sentiment and concerns on pricing pressure, but management reassured that they do not compete on price, consistent with our thesis. Overall, the market was relieved, resulting in the strong recovery. We maintain the name in our top 10 holdings as the stock is far from adequately reflecting the 20-30% profit growth we expect.
Among our Consumer names, Estee Lauder the Cosmetics leader suffered from a series of worse than expected dynamics including weaker Asian travel-related demand, inventory reductions, weaker Chinese economy, and specific distribution issues. However, we expect sequential improvement and a mid-teens sales growth level as conditions normalise. Consequently, we maintain our holding, although only at a 1% sizing, with a view to increasing post further evidence of the expected sequential improvement.
While volatility persists, we remain cautious in such periods and maintain our long-term investment process. We invest in fundamentally high-quality companies which also have a significant family or founder shareholder to guide the company and enable long-term strategic decisions. Detailed corporate governance analysis is essential to identify the most beneficial names among this group. To navigate through this time of uncertainty we have reduced weaker names such as Estee Lauder and Fortinet and added to our less cyclical names such as L’Oreal, Cintas and Coca Cola Consolidated.
*Risk Scale from the KID (Key Information Document) / KIID (Key Investor Information Document). Risk 1 does not mean a risk-free investment. This indicator may change over time. **Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) 2019/2088. EU Act that requires asset managers to classify funds into categories, “Article 8” funds promote environmental and social characteristics, “Article 9” funds have sustainable investments as a measurable objective. In addition to not promoting environmental or social characteristics, "Article 6" funds have no sustainable objectives.
|Carmignac Portfolio Family Governed||11.15||16.01||27.00||-18.60|
|Carmignac Portfolio Family Governed||+7.84 %||-||-|
|Reference Indicator||+8.98 %||-||-|
Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance. Performances are net of fees (excluding possible entrance fees charged by the distributor).
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