Murray International Trust Plc posts NAV of 14.1% in 2021

Murray International Trust Plc, a fund managed by abrdn, has posted a net asset value return of 14.1% for 2021.

Murray International Trust Plc posts NAV of 14.1% in 2021

Bruce Stout

The company has no benchmark, but this performance compares with a rise over the same period of 7.6% for the UK Retail Price Index and a total return for the Reference Index, the FSTE ALL World TR Index, of 20.0%.

The company’s share price posted a lower total return of 7.2%, reflecting the widening of the discount to NAV.

Over the year, income per share generated from the company’s portfolio increased to 51.7p for the year (2020: 46.6p). Murray International Trust pays a competitively high dividend yield which stood at 4.8% at year end.

The board is recommending an increased final dividend of 19.0p which, subject to shareholder approval, represents the 17th year of dividend increases for the company, which remains an AIC ‘Next Generation Dividend Hero’.

Bruce Stout, investment director of Murray International, said: “From an overall investment perspective, the emphasis continued to be on diversified asset exposures in companies deemed beneficiaries of the evolving backdrop, maintaining a ‘barbell’ strategy of owning both growth and cyclical stocks.

“Structurally higher inflation is supportive of companies owning real assets and exposed to the global economic cycle, whilst selective growth companies should benefit from accelerating trends in industrial automation, semiconductor miniaturisation and digital communications.

“In our view, the greatest potential for positive cyclical momentum upside surprises can still be identified in Asia and other countries that have lagged the recovery in the Developed World, given the current lower expectations for earnings and dividends that prevail. In such sectors and businesses the portfolio remains meaningfully invested.”

Commenting on the outlook, David Hardie, chairman, Murray International Trust, added: “The global geopolitical situation looks increasingly uncertain as a result of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine and the consequences and implications which will flow from that. Whilst the company does not have any direct investment in Russian or Ukrainian equities or bonds, the portfolio does include exposure to some multinational companies with operations there, or potentially affected by these events.

“However, at the time of writing, little more can usefully be said save that the position will, of course, continue to be monitored by the Manager and the Board. This is in addition to the uncertainties resulting from the pandemic.”

He continued: “As the global economy begins to confront the numerous challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic, certain key issues stand out. Many businesses face an uncertain future from irrevocable changes to work practices, employment demographics, consumer spending patterns and leisure behaviour.

“Governments will count the costs of expanding fiscal deficits with the unenviable task of allocating future generations the debt burdens. Finally, policymakers must tackle an unfamiliar economic landscape where rising prices and wages arguably present the most serious hurdle for custodians of economic prosperity.”

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