Ark Review of the Month
Economic data for April showed that global economic activity demonstrated significant resilience even in a high-interest-rate environment. Lower energy prices helped bring down headline inflation in major economies. Inflation in the US is currently at 5.0% which is below expectations. Equity markets continued to rally in April, with the FTSE All-Shares up 3.4%, the MSCI Europe ex-UK Index up 2.3%, and the US S&P 500 up 1.6%.
In fixed-income markets, global investment grade bond prices rose by 1.2%, with the US Treasury prices up 0.5% and the UK Gilt prices down 1.8%, as portfolio diversification remains critical.
As of 28 April 2023:
UK 10 Year Gilt Yield 3.72%
US 10 Year Treasury Yield 3.42%
Germany 10 Year Bund Yield 2.31%
The latest data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 13 April showed that although the UK economy managed to avoid shrinking as predicted, it did not show any growth either, leaving the UK's economic performance lagging behind other major economies. In its latest World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that in 2023 the UK will have the lowest growth among the G7 countries with a decrease in GDP of 0.3%. In 2024, the UK's GDP is predicted to grow by 1%, ranking the second lowest in G7, just ahead of Italy.
However, there are signs that activities in several parts of the economy are picking up despite the current low growth. The S&P Global/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index, a measure of business activity, rose over its previous projections in April, and the GfK Consumer Confidence Index also showed significant increase. Retail sales in the UK also advanced in the three months ending March 2023 compared to the previous three months. As of March, the UK's Consumer Price Inflation Index (CPI) had remained in double digits (10.1%) for the seventh consecutive month, while the market widely expects to see CPI begin to decline soon.
Given the risk of continued financial pressure and expectations of a cyclical slowdown, we are cautious about equity market investments in general. However, we hold a relatively positive outlook for stocks in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. Although pharmaceutical companies also need to face inflationary pressures and a higher interest rate era, the overall business operation environment is stable while the industry demand has gradually normalised. Strong innovation momentum also provides ample support for the industry's long-term growth. The long-term trends in social development, including a growing and ageing population, an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, and a progressive focus on healthcare supply worldwide, also provide a favourable backdrop for the big pharmas and biotech firms.
As always, our Investor Relations team would be more than happy to help you with any queries.
The views expressed in this update are not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any investment or financial instrument. The views reflect the views of Ark Investment Management at the date of this document and, whilst the opinions stated are honestly held, they are not guaranteed and should not be relied upon and may be subject to change without notice. Investments entail risks. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance. There is no guarantee that you will recover the amount of your original investment. The information contained in this update does not constitute investment advice and should not be used as the basis of any investment decision. Any references to specific securities or indices are included for the purposes of illustration only and should not be construed as a recommendation to either buy or sell these securities or invest in a particular sector. If you are in any doubt, please speak to us or your financial adviser as appropriate.
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