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Real assets have so far provided the best defence against higher rates and inflation
Thursday 28 Apr 2022 Author: Ian Conway

It is one thing for analysts to forecast which stocks and sectors will do well in a rising-rate or inflationary environment, but when it actually comes to pass it’s always fascinating to see what works in practice.

Judging by the list of stocks making 12-month highs over the past week, those who favoured real assets were on the money.

Standing tall are 3i Infrastructure (3IN), AEW UK REIT (AEWU), GCP Infrastructure (GCP), JLEN Environmental Assets (JLEN), JPMorgan Core Real Assets (JARA) and Taylor Maritime Investments (TMI).

Also looking down on the rest of the market are a couple of solar trusts, Foresight Solar (FSFL) and NextEnergy Solar (NESF), which had consistently lagged until the invasion of Ukraine sent energy prices skyward, along with a basket of oil exploration and production firms.

Other winners include telecoms testing equipment maker Calnex Solutions (CLX:AIM), payments group Equals (EQLS:AIM), insurance group Helios Underwriting (HUW:AIM), industrial conglomerate MS International (MSI:AIM) and people-screen technology firm Thruvision (THRU:AIM).

Honourable mentions go to distributor Bunzl (BNZL), outsourcer Serco (SRP) and warehouse investor Tritax Big Box (BBOX) which are just a few percent away from making 12-month highs.

On the losing side over the last week have been a handful of overseas funds, mostly in Japan, along with several former growth darlings.

Baillie Gifford Japan (BGFD), Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon (BGS) and JPMorgan Japan Small Cap Growth & Income (JSGI) are all in the dog house, as are Abrdn China Investment Company (ACIC) and Infrastructure India (IIP).

Previous high-flyers now making year-lows include telecoms infrastructure investor Helios Towers (HTWS), legal services firm Knights Group (KGH:AIM), building accessories supplier Tyman (TYMN) and logistics group Xpediator (XPD:AIM).

Several life sciences firms have also struggled this year, such as diagnostics companies EKF Diagnostics (EKF:AIM) and Renalytix (RENX:AIM), biotech MaxCyte (MXCT:AIM), gene therapy firm Oxford Biomedica (OXB) and medical device maker Rua Life Sciences (RUA:AIM).

Other notable losers include former lockdown winners musical instrument seller Gear4Music (G4M:AIM), online card and gift seller Moonpig (MOON), nearly-new car dealer Motorpoint (MOTR), online grocery delivery platform Ocado (OCDO) and pet health provider Pets At Home (PETS).

Finally, following a warning over its medium-term future and a fall of more than 65% in its shares this week, convenience retailer McColls (MCL) has seen its shares slump to a new 12-month low. McColls’ market cap is now just £11 million from £220 million a year ago.

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