Nasdaq DW global momentum Q4 2019 commentary
|Asset classes||Global equities (including emerging markets, excluding US companies)|
|Investment style||Systematic investing based on stocks’ relative strength|
|Quarterly return||+12.4% (net of fees)|
|Annualised volatility (since inception)||16.7%|
Globally, most asset classes had a solid fourth quarter to close out a very impressive year across the board. Developed markets performed better than emerging markets for the year; the MSCI EAFE Total Return index was up 22.7%, while the MSCI Emerging Markets Total Return index gained 18.9%. The gap between the two was wider during a majority of the year, but emerging markets made up a lot of ground during the laggard rally near the end of the year.
One of the biggest stories of the year from an investment standpoint was the downward move in interest rates. Investors have been waiting for interest rates to rise for quite some time, and there were few (if any) forecasts that didn’t project higher rates by the end of year. Well, exactly the opposite happened: interest rates had large declines during the year, which had implications for a number of asset classes and equity sectors. Sectors like real estate and utilities did very well in the falling rate environment.
Despite all of the negative headlines, the stock market continues to power higher. Listening to the news, one would assume the stock market is teetering on the edge and ready to crack at any moment. But that certainly has not been the case!
The reality is there are a lot of good things going for the stock market. There has been an uptick in the number of new highs versus new lows, which is very positive from a breadth standpoint. Many equity indexes are also near recent (or all-time) highs, which in and of itself is a bullish sign. The stock market acts as a discounting mechanism and major bear markets don’t generally begin directly from uptrends. Underneath the surface of the stock market, there was more volatility than the indexes showed.
You can find the long-term track record here.
Best performing positions
- Cosan Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in fuel and natural gas distribution, logistics, lubricant, sugar and ethanol businesses in Brazil and internationally. The company was founded in 1936 and is based in São Paulo, Brazil.
- Galapagos NV, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, discovers, develops, and commercializes various small molecule medicines. The company was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Mechelen, Belgium.
- Argenx SE, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on developing antibody-based therapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer. Argenx SE was founded in 2008 and is based in Breda, the Netherlands.
- Gold Fields Limited operates as a gold producer with reserves and resources in South Africa, Ghana, Australia and Peru. Gold Fields Limited was founded in 1887 and is based in Sandton, South Africa.
- Sibanye Gold Limited operates as a precious metals mining company in South Africa, the United States, Zimbabwe, Canada and Argentina. Sibanye Gold Limited was incorporated in 2002 and is headquartered in Weltevreden Park, South Africa.
Worst performing positions
- Infosys Limited, together with its subsidiaries, provides consulting, technology and outsourcing services in North America, Europe, India and internationally. Infosys Limited was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Bengaluru, India.
- Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity in Brazil. The company was founded in 1952 and is headquartered in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
- Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras S.A. - Eletrobras, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Brazil. The company was founded in 1962 and is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- Compañía de Minas Buenaventura S.A.A., a precious metals company, engages in the exploration, mining and processing of gold, silver, lead, zinc and copper metals in Peru, the United States, Europe and Asia. The company was founded in 1953 and is based in San Isidro, Peru.
- Fly Leasing Limited, through its subsidiaries, purchases and leases commercial aircraft under multi-year contracts to various airlines worldwide. The company was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland.
As we look forward to the coming year, Nasdaq DW believes there will be many opportunities for our strategy to capitalise on. Nasdaq DW believes markets will continue to do well for the first part of the year despite news headlines and media reports. The portfolio’s investment process is designed to cut through all of the “market noise” and position to where strength exists in the market. Nasdaq DW is confident this disciplined, unemotional process will continue to guide the portfolio through all types of markets.
We wish our readers a prosperous start to the next decade.