Investments  

Fidelity’s Wright says UK market has hit peak

Fidelity’s Wright says UK market has hit peak

Profit margins already high by historical standards and far from cheap valuations mean it is difficult to see UK equities rising much from here, according to Alex Wright, who runs the £3.1bn Fidelity Special Situations fund.

Mr Wright also runs the Fidelity Special Values investment trust.

In the report of the trust, Mr Wright said: “Following a strong period of returns in the market over the past several years, it is reasonable to expect a few periods where overall returns might be lower.

“Despite the recent correction, the UK market is currently trading around its long term average and many stocks are on peak margins.

"While this need not be a cause for immediate concern, I believe it constrains the ability of the overall market to continue to make above average returns in the future, and leaves it more vulnerable to a shock.”

He added that banks and other financial companies are one of the few areas where he thinks there is value right now.

Andrew Hunt, who runs the £45m Standard Life UK Recovery fund, said the best opportunities in the UK market last year were in the mining sector.

But as the share prices of those assets have risen, he has been selling, and redirecting the capital into areas such as oil and resources, where he thinks the market is presently missing the investment opportunity.

James Dow, who runs the £577m Scottish American investment trust, which is a global income fund, said he has little interest in UK shares right now as he believes many companies will have to cut their dividends.

The fund managers Richard Buxton and Neil Woodford are among those who believe the UK economy will perform better than expected and this will boost the returns from UK shares. 

Mr Woodford said he expects the UK economy to perform marginally better than is presently expected in the coming year, and this will be enough to boost the returns of UK domestically focused shares like banks in which he is invested.

Mr Woodford said he expects the UK economy to grow by 2 per cent this year, a forecast far in excess of the 1.5 per cent expected by the government.He said the fundamentals of the UK economy are improving, rather than deteriorating and he expects growth in most of the rest of the world to slow down.

The recent decline in the pace of UK GDP growth, at just 0.1 per cent in the first quarter in 2018, has been mirrored by a similar reduction in the US, and in most Eurozone countries. 

David.Thorpe@ft.com