InvestmentsJun 6 2018

Baillie Gifford's Plowden dumps tech stars

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Baillie Gifford's Plowden dumps tech stars

Charles Plowden, the senior partner at Baillie Gifford and manager of the £1.8bn Monks investment trust, has cut his investment in Alphabet and Amazon, and put the cash into younger companies he said have greater growth potential.

He said much of the trust's focus over recent months has been on portfolio diversification.

"Following a sustained period of strong performance, with a significant contribution from a relatively narrow range of technology and internet companies, we want to ensure we have plenty of under-appreciated growth stocks within the portfolio," he said in an update to the market.

"We have started to harvest some of the gains amongst our technology and US cyclical holdings where progress is well recognised by the market.

"Whilst our portfolio turnover remains low, it is encouraging to see a broad spread of new ideas coming forward, from a range of different industries and geographies.

"We feel that this modest rebalancing adds to the attractiveness of the portfolio for long-term investors."

He added he remains "generally enthusiastic" about global growth, especially from Asian consumer demand and across a range of technological advances driven by the use of data in areas such as health, media, transport and trade.

In the West he said he sees the impact of the greater use of mobile devices on a daily basis, yet in China and other emerging markets the momentum is even greater, he said, supported by young populations, supportive governments and a huge wealth gap.

"In less than one generation many of these countries could catch up with western living standards which is a mouth watering prospect for a growth investor," he said.

The Monks investment trust returned 20 per cent in the year to April 30, compared with 16 per cent for the average trust in the AIC Global sector in the same time period.

In the annual results statement for the trust, Mr Plowden said the biggest contribution to returns during the year were NVIDIA, Alibaba, Naspers, GrubHub, Autohome, MasterCard, Fiat Chrysler, AIA and, Abiomed. Mr Plowden said the earnings of each of those companies rose by at least a third in the 2017 calendar year.

He sold the trust’s shares in Colgate Palmolive having decided the shares no longer represent good value.

During the year, the Monks investment trust issued new shares for the first time in 55 years. The Monks investment trust trades at a premium to net assets of 2.4 per cent.