The ECB formally adopted its version of QE during the month. This drove the Euro even lower and boosted stock markets across Europe. For the first time in a long while, the MSCI World ex US Index outperformed the broader MSCI World Index, reflecting the relative underperformance of US markets against the rest of the world. This is a phenomenon which ought to benefit us, as we have no direct exposure to the US. We continue to find good value opportunities on wide discounts in Europe and the weaker currency, as well as ECB monetary policy, could provide a further boost to these markets. This would likely lead to a narrowing of discounts within our universe and would be beneficial to our strategy.
Two of our closed-end fund holdings were strong contributors to performance over the month, with NB Private Equity Partners (NBPE) and Harbourvest Global Private Equity (HVPE) recording solid gains. Both discounts contracted materially, and the positions were also buoyed by the strong US dollar.
Euro weakness was not enough to hold back our holding in TUI, whose share price climbed +8.8% in sterling terms over the month (+13.1% in Euros) as the market digested the transformative nature of the holding company’s merger with its TUI Travel subsidiary.