Managersichten SJB Nachhaltig: Pictet – Global Environmental Opportunities (WKN A1C3LN) April 2023

Luciano Diana, FondsManager des Pictet Global Environmental Opportunities

SJB | Korschenbroich, 23.05.2023.

Globale Aktien bewegten sich im April um 1,4 Prozent nach oben, womit sich die Gewinne seit Jahresbeginn auf 8,7 Prozent summieren.  Im Berichtsmonat waren die Sektoren Nachhaltige Landwirtschaft und Holz die stärksten im FondsPortfolio. Waste Management und Recycling rangierten an zweiter Stelle – hier überzeugten vor allem Republic Services, die einen besser als erwarteten Quartalsbericht vorlegten. In diesem Marktumfeld generierte der Pictet – Global Environmental Opportunities P EUR (WKN A1C3LN, ISIN LU0503631805) eine Wertentwicklung von -3,24 Prozent auf Monatsbasis und notiert seit Jahresbeginn mit +2,63 Prozent im Plus. Der aktuelle Monatsbericht von Pictet-FondsManager Luciano Diana analysiert für alle Investoren der FondsStrategie SJB Nachhaltig die Veränderungen im Portfolio und liefert einen Ausblick für die Aktienmärkte des Environmental-Sektors.

Market Review

Global equities moved 1.4% higher in April in local currency terms, to take their gains since the start of the year to 8.7%. The strong performance in part reflected a rebound in financial stocks, as concerns about a structural banking sector crisis – which has blighted performance in March – temporarily abated. Investors took the view that the March bank turmoil did not represent an imminent threat of recession or a credit crunch, in part reassured by stronger-than-expected US bank earnings. This enabled financials to finish April 3.2% higher, reversing part of the previous month’s 7% plunge. Energy stocks also fared well, reflecting better-than-expected earnings. The rest of April’s equity gains were mainly concentrated in defensive sectors, reflecting lingering concerns about the health of the global economy. Healthcare, Consumer Staples and Utilities all performed well. In contrast, more cyclical sectors such as Consumer Discretionary and Tech finished the month in the red. Regionally, some of the best performance came from Europe and Japan. US equities also made headway, although the gains in the S&P 500 were driven by just a handful of heavyweight stocks. Over 80% of the US benchmark’s gains so far in 2023 have come from just seven companies, including Apple and Microsoft, according to Bloomberg data.

Performance Analysis
The strategy underperformed the MSCI AC World Index during the month of April. Sustainable Agriculture & Forestry was the strongest segment, where better-than-expected quarterly results at Symrise and Givaudan drove a re-rating. Waste Management & Recycling was the second highest contributing segment, led by Republic Services, which reported Q1 earnings ahead of market expectations with continued robust pricing and an encouraging demand backdrop. Recycling stocks SIG and Smurfit Kappa also rebounded in early April on signs of easing destocking and a stabilisation in containerboard pricing. Energy Efficiency was the weakest segment in the month due in part to some investor profit taking at names such as ASML and Applied Materials, which have performed strongly year to date. Power semiconductor exposed Infineon and Onsemi reported strong Q1 results but derated due to mixed outlook commentary from industry peers, which added to market concerns of a cyclical softening in consumer electronics and automotive verticals. Pollution Control was the second weakest segment as investors took some profit at Tetra Tech, and as a greater-than-anticipated destocking headwind led to some negative earnings revisions at Danaher.

Portfolio-Aktivity – Under- and Overweightings
During the month, we added to our exposure in Sustainable Agriculture & Forestry, exited a position in Pollution Control and took some profits in Dematerialized Economy and Energy Efficiency. Within Sustainable Agriculture & Forestry, we added to Symrise due to its robust earnings performance and our favourable view of the underlying end market conditions. In Pollution Control, we exited our position in Eurofins following disappointing 2022 results and a lack of conviction on the company’s mid-term targets. Within Dematerialized Economy and Energy Efficiency, we took some profit on Ansys and Legrand, respectively, following their strong performance year to date.

Market Outlook
Our portfolio companies are executing on order books that are currently at record levels, following years of COVID disruptions. Supply chain constraints are easing and companies benefit from price carry-over. Our largest segments show strong fundamentals. The current energy market dislocations are stimulating corporate investments in energy-saving technologies. ‘Green Capex’ is starting to be a multi-year secular theme driving the next wave of infrastructure investments across electricity grids, renewables, green buildings, battery storage, EVs, etc. The end-market demand for environmental remediation within the Pollution Control segment remains healthy, particularly in the US. Many of our environmental solutions, such as simulation software and Electronic Design Automation are resilient as they help industries to reduce costs. In general, our portfolio holdings have sufficient pricing power and balance sheet strength to navigate well in the current environment, characterized by high inflation and rising funding costs.

Portfolio Strategy
Our strategy remains focused on investing in environmental solutions providers. We believe that exposure to environmental trends offers investors attractive risk-adjusted returns, regardless of the stage of the economic cycle. We favour solutions providers with wide economic moats, robust profitability, healthy balance sheets and business models that don’t rely on government subsidies. These companies are likely to weather a difficult economy. Our bottom-up investment process results in a concentrated global portfolio with a growth and quality bias. Long term, the trends of population growth and rising living standards are inescapable and so is the growing strain on natural resources. Awareness of environmental issues has grown tremendously in the last few years and is now deep-seated, top of mind for an entire generation of citizens, consumers and investors.

Pictet – Global Environmental Opportunities Management Team
Luciano Diana
Gabriel Micheli
Yi Du

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