Threadneedle’s Nichols buys European tech stocks

Threadneedle’s Nichols buys European tech stocks

Mark Nichols, who jointly runs the £3.1bn Threadneedle European Select fund, has been looking to technology stocks for growth.

The Threadneedle European Select fund has returned 56 per cent over the past three years to 31 October, compared with 53 per cent for the average fund in the sector in the same time period.

Mr Nichols said one reason for the relatively poor performance of European equity markets in recent years has been due to the index having a much greater weighting in banks, which have underperformed, than technology.

Mr Nichols said he thinks there are four “world leading” technology companies listed on European markets, of which two trade at valuations he considers attractive.

The fund manager said he is invested in Dassault Systems, a French-listed software company that provides services to the aerospace and automotive industries.

Mr Nichols said the company is a market leader because the software it produces is considerably ahead of that produced by rivals.

He said: “They manage to keep growing their pricing even when the wider economic climate was tough.

"Those are the sort of companies we like to invest in.”

The second stock he mentioned is Amadeus, a company that provides software services to the airline industry.

Mr Nichols said as airline passenger numbers grow, so will demand for the products provided by Amadeus.

The US tech giants, often grouped together under the label Fang, have delivered their latest earnings reports.

Facebook reported a 79 per cent increase in profit for the third quarter of this year.

The company said it expects future profits to be hit by costs of trying to prevent "fake news". 

Thomas Fitzgerald, associate fund manager at Eden Tree Investments, said Facebook had exceeded the markets expectations with the latest results.

He said Facebook has become "the single most successful entity ever created" with more followers than any religion and more users than have an i-phone. 

Mr Fitzgerald added the results achieved by Alphabet, the parent company of Google, beat the expectations of the market "on every measure."

Amazon also delivered results ahead of expectation. 

Charles Plowden, who runs the £1.5bn Monks investment trust, said the key to the long-term investment case for Amazon is the long-term thinking of the management team, which means quarter by quarter earnings data is less relevant than for companies with more of a short-term outlook.

He said the opportunity for Amazon to continue to expand remains vast. 

One investor who was non-plussed by the results of the Fang stocks was Simon Edelsten, who runs the £152m Mid Wynd investment trust.

He sold his Facebook shares last year, though has Alphabet among the top 10 investments in the trust.

He said most of the stocks delivered the level of earnings he expected, so he hasn't changed his view.

Mr Edelsten said the bounce enjoyed by the share prices of many of the companies on foot of their earnings reports merely took them back to previous share price levels, as the technology companies had under performed the wider US market for much of the past year.