European Selection Fund - Dec 2020
Updated: Feb 16, 2021
Factsheet: December 2020
Despite a brighter outlook following the implementation of preventive treatments, the number of cases of contamination has risen sharply, leading to further paralysis of many economies hampered by curfew and lockdown measures.
However, European markets ended the year on an upward trend, maintaining the momentum of the past few months, invigorated by the various vaccine announcements. As far as indices are concerned, Euro Stoxx 50 gained 1.72%, CAC 40 fell by 0.28% and Stoxx Europe 600 gained 2.20%.
On the sectoral side, there was a clear rebound in raw materials (+10.85%) and travel (+6.50%). Conversely, banks (-0.11%) and telecoms (-3.05%) declined
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The fund largely outperformed the benchmark indices, with a performance of +4.12% over the month. We benefitted from the excellent performances of Simcorp (+14%) and Halma (+11%), as well as the Dutch semiconductor printing machine manufacturer ASML (+11%), whose revolutionary extreme ultraviolet (EUV) printing technology continues to gain market share.
On the other hand, Unilever (-2.8%) and Air Liquide (- 2.4%) declined slightly, mainly due to profit-taking by some investors, following their extraordinary resilience during 2020.
2021 began with its share of uncertainties. The good news is that massive vaccination campaigns have begun across the world and should bring a major breakthrough in the fight against the virus.
On the other hand, the unwavering support of the authorities should gradually diminish and reveal the shortcomings of certain companies and economies currently being supported.
Once again, innovation (inherent in a company's reinvestment capacity), quality (leadership positioning, high margins), and low debt will be essential characteristics to differentiate between resilient business models and distressed companies.
This is why we continue to apply the same rigor to our selection criteria, regardless of the sector rotation that is expected to continue in the markets. This consistent strategy allows us to start 2021 with confidence.
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