Reduced exposure to equities
Carnegie Strategy Fund rose 2.3 percent in March, which means the fund has now retaken January’s losses and has risen 0.4 percent since the start of the year. Given the Nordic equity markets are still in negative territory and the corporate bond market has also been weak, we are pleased with this performance.
Since the fund’s equity component is invested mainly in Swedish shares, the Swedish stock market’s relative strength has been a help.
There was no major drama on the securities markets in March, but the European Central Bank’s decision to buy corporate bonds sparked credit spreads to narrow, which lent support to the prices of corporate bonds. It is also noteworthy that the Swedish krona strengthened against most currencies, particularly the dollar. This is undeniably a paradox given the Riksbank’s efforts to weaken the currency.
Since interest rates are at record low levels and equity valuations appear reasonable, it is likely that corporate earnings growth will be the determiner of stock market performance. It is difficult to envisage any substantial earnings growth in 2016. The boost to Swedish companies from a weaker krona in 2015 has now passed in 2016. We therefore continue, as promised, to stick to stable companies that offer a high dividend yield and/or rate of interest.
We generally cut back on equity exposure somewhat in March since we are anticipating a number of attractive bond issues in the near future. Nonetheless, one new equity holding is Platzer, an undervalued real estate company with exposure to the Gothenburg region. The company has great potential to develop its portfolio by adding value to its land and building rights. On the bond side, we invested in Roplan, a Swedish mechanical and industrial engineering company.