October was a rough old month for UK markets as the reality of Lockdown 2.0 came home to roost.
The FTSE 100 fell 4.9% over the month and I would not be surprised if the market retested the 5,000 level made back in March. Thankfully, the Fund has continued to show its defensive qualities in 2020, falling less than the wider market in October.
Our top performer in October was Alphabet (aka Google) +15%, closely followed by Barclays +14% and Dechra Pharmaceuticals +11%. It is nice to see that over a volatile month, we can still see stock selection coming through in strong performance from a very diverse top three names. On the other hand, Trainline fell 28% on the announcement that their CEO will be leaving the company - we are still big believers in the growth opportunities for Trainline as we move from paper to e-tickets and added to our position after the sell-off.
We were proactive elsewhere in negative markets, adding to our new investment in Hargreaves Lansdown and were happy to pick up more shares in top ten positions Relx and Roche. West End property is clearly having a rotten time of it, leading Shaftesbury to come to market to raise further equity. We supported this Shaftesbury issue across multiple Church House funds as we believe that Shaftesbury’s West End estate (China Town, Carnaby Street, Seven Dials) remains unique and will again see tourists and Londoners flock to them once the world reopens.
Our cash position remains low (1.8% at the time of writing), reflecting our conviction that UK equities are cheap at these levels and confidence in the long-term outlook for the companies that we are invested in.