Investments  

Woodford points to 'growing evidence' he is right on Brexit

In his view the divergence happened because fund managers have focused on international earnings companies on the UK stock market.

But with the global economy now in turmoil, and, in his view, the UK economy performing strongly, the domestically focused companies in which he is invested will start to outperform the international businesses owned by his rivals, according to Mr Woodford.

Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management, has a different view of the health of the UK economy, however.

She said: "The economic outlook is gloomy. While wage growth is improving there are concerns that consumer spending may be slowing. Recent shocks from retail sales figures, notably Asos, suggest that uncertainty may be affecting consumers beyond just the high street.  

"Growth in 2019 set to be the weakest since the 2009 recession and the looming uncertainty of Brexit showing little sign of shifting."

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, who was found by a national newspaper to have had the best record of forecasting the direction of the UK economy in 2018, said economic growth had "slowed sharply" in the final quarter of 2018.

But Mr Woodford wrote: "I don’t feel the need to form specific forecasts for things like inflation, GDP growth and unemployment – but I do try to form a clear understanding of their likely direction of travel.

"Again, there is an opportunity to take advantage of differences between my own expectations and those that are implied in market valuations.

"It’s about trying to understand what’s priced in to the market’s expectations and exploiting situations where the consensus has, for a variety of potential reasons (in my view, for example, markets are neither rational or disciplined most of the time), got things wrong."

david.thorpe@ft.com