Markets recovered their poise in October, with the MSCI AC World ex-US benchmark up 5.4% on a total return basis and our NAV a little behind at a 5% return. Sterling strength again held back our returns.
Jardine Matheson was our largest contributor on the back of a 10% increase in NAV and discount narrowing for a 16% share price return. The company’s indirect holding in Astra International, which accounts for 20% of its NAV, climbed 13% in local currency as sentiment towards emerging markets improved.
Swedish holding company Investor AB was not far behind in terms of contribution, with strong performances from its stakes in Atlas Copco, ABB, and SEB resulting in solid NAV growth and discount contraction of c500bps. The company ended the month trading on a 20% discount to our estimated NAV. Given the long term value creation by the company, there is justification for the discount to be narrower than it is today. The resulting return over the month of 8% in Sterling was held back by a 3.7% decline in the Swedish Krona as disappointing Swedish unemployment figures led to speculation that the Riksbank may move rates even further into negative territory.
Other helpful contributors over the month included Kinnevik, Hitachi, and JPMorgan Private Equity.