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Managersichten SJB Nachhaltig: Pictet – Smart City (WKN A1CYMG) Mai 2020

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Ivo Weinöhrl, FondsManager des Pictet Smart City

SJB | Korschenbroich, 04.06.2020. Nach der starken Kurskorrektur im ersten Quartal 2020  konnten die globalen Aktienmärkte im April eine deutliche Erholungsbewegung vollziehen. In diesem verbesserten Marktumfeld generierte der Pictet – Smart City P EUR (WKN A1CYMG, ISIN LU0503634577) eine positive Wertentwicklung von +10,73 Prozent auf Monatsbasis. Pictet-FondsManager Ivo Weinöhrl berichtet für alle Investoren der FondsStrategie SJB Nachhaltig über die neuesten Entwicklungen in den Sektoren städtische Entwicklung, Infrastruktur und Lifestyle. Der aktuelle Marktbericht per Ende April thematisiert die FondsPerformance, die Veränderungen im Portfolio sowie den Ausblick für die Aktientitel, die von den Entwicklungen hin zur modernen Stadt profitieren.

Market review
After the strong correction experienced in the first quarter of the year, April saw global equities rebound in a meaningful way. Signs of an easing of the Covid-19 pandemic, plans to relax some of the social distancing measures that had put economies around the globe under severe pressure and continued monetary and fiscal stimulus all contributed to the lift in investors‘ sentiment. The MSCI All Country World Index (in USD terms) recorded a gain of more than ten per cent. While lockdowns and social distancing measures started to bear fruit in terms of flattening infection curves, economic activity data declined in an unprecedented fashion. US jobless claims rose to a level that is consistent with a 20% unemployment rate. However, aggressive monetary and fiscal policy helped equity markets shrug off deteriorating macrodata. The US Federal Reserve provided $2.3 trillion in credit to businesses and local governments while the European Central Bank changed the rules of its ongoing securities purchase programme to include lower grade bonds. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes remained almost unchanged at 0.64%. While all sectors recorded meaningful gains, some of the most beaten down areas like Energy, Consumer Discretionary and Materials finished at the top. Utilities, Consumer Staples and Financials, on the other hand, ended the month at the bottom.

Performance analysis
The SmartCity strategy slightly underperformed global equities during the month of April, with Living in the City acting as the biggest detractor, Running the City slightly lagging behind the market and Building the City outperforming. Within Building the City, Intelligent Buildings was the best performing sub-segment overall. The main contributors were home improvement retailers, whose products were being considered essential and whose strong digital platforms contributed to them being less affected by the lockdowns than other brick and mortar retailers. Within Running the City, Digital Infrastructure was the best and Traditional Infrastructure the worst performing sub-segment. Digital payment companies were the main contributors to the former’s outperformance as the market started to price in an expected volume recovery post lockdowns as well as positive longterm effects from higher adoption of non-cash payment methods. Within Traditional Infrastructure, the main detractor was a natural gas utility, whose stock was penalized by the rotation out of defensive business models. Within Living in the City, Housing Solutions was the biggest drag on performance. This was also caused by the highly defensive nature of this sub-segment, which had held up much better than many others during the sell-off in March and thus offered less recovery potential in April.

Portfolio activity – overweightings & underweightings
Portfolio activity in April was limited as we neither initiated a new position nor exited any of our existing holdings. We slightly increased our position in a leading provider of after-school tutoring in China, whose strategy is focused on the build-out of physical, highly profitable education centres. Its earnings report confirmed the resilience of the company’s business model and its high level of adaptability as it was able to switch its entire student base to online classes when the Covid-19 crisis forced it to close its facilities. We expect the crisis to further improve the company’s competitive positioning by forcing small, local operators out of business. We also made a small addition to our stake in a logistics real estate company, taking advantage of a pullback in the stock. The impact of the pandemic on the company has been minimal as most tenants distribute essential goods and/or are active in e-commerce. On the contrary, the company has observed a boost in demand from those segments, which should accelerate the already existing positive longer term demand trends in the sector. Finally, a market pullback gave us the opportunity to make a slight addition to our position in a natural gas utility company, whose business is very resilient and offers highly predictable growth.

Market outlook
The secular outlook for the three building blocks of our SmartCity strategy remains highly attractive. Cities around the globe have recognized the need to invest in their aging infrastructure and deploy smarter solutions and technologies to improve their citizens‘ quality of life. From a shorter term perspective, the path of global equities will depend on the shape of the economic recovery after the Covid-19 induced economic downturn and the market’s willingness to anticipate such a recovery far in advance. After the quickest market downturn in a century, equity markets have – on an aggregate level – already meaningfully recovered from those losses in a relatively short period of time. We are now witnessing a bifurcation between the businesses that are able to withstand or even benefit from this crisis and others that will feel the pain of a prolonged period of time. We remain prudent and adhere to our disciplined investment approach trying to identify long-term winners in their respective fields that we think will fare well across economic and market cycles and increasing our stakes in those companies if and when opportunities arise.

Portfolio strategy
Our goal is to gain exposure to companies that stand to benefit most from their ability to provide solutions to the meaningful challenges posed by rapid urbanization, changing demographics and consumer lifestyles. In light of fast-growing populations, cities around the world will have to undertake investments to protect human well-being and promote environmental sustainability. We find companies across a wide variety of sectors that make cities smarter, i.e. more efficient, safe, sustainable or better adapted to their citizens‘ needs. The investment strategy is unconstrained across geographies, market capitalizations or sectors.

Pictet – Smart City Management Team
Ivo Weinoehrl
Lucia Macaccaro

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