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Personal Assets Trust reports increased NAV, keeps liquidity high

During the stock market falls of February and March, the manager materially increased its equity exposure but felt there were “no bargains yet on offer at rock bottom prices”

Personal Assets Trust -
Google parent Alphabet was one purchase in the period

Personal Assets Trust PLC (LON:PNL) has reported a 5.3% increase in its net asset value (NAV) over the year to April 30, 2020, while continuing to maintain a high level of liquidity.

At the end of April, the FTSE 250-listed investment trust’s NAV was £1.16bn, or £426.36 per share, versus a share price of £433.0 at the same point.

The increase in NAV per share compared to a fall of 19.8% in the FTSE All-Share Index over the same period.

Over the first nine months of the year, Personal Assets Trust reduced its equity exposure to circa 30%, the lowest in a decade, selling holdings in Imperial Oil (TSE:IMO) and Sage (LON:SGE), along with modest holdings in GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) and BIC.

New holdings were added in Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG), medical devices company Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), life sciences company Agilent (NYSE:A), cards giant Visa (NYSE:V), which are all viewed as resilient businesses with strong platforms for long-term growth.

During the stock market falls of February and March, the manager materially increased its equity exposure by over 10 percentage points, “as the risk/reward ratio seemed to us to have improved” but felt there were “no bargains yet on offer at rock bottom prices and valuations never touched anywhere near the lows witnessed in 2009”.

Personal Assets Trust’s liquidity was 55.3% at the end of the year, including UK Treasury bills, UK cash, overseas cash and in US Treasury inflation-protected securities and gold bullion, down from 64% liquidity a year earlier but similar to recent years.

The self-managed trust said it was keeping its interim dividends payout unchanged from recent years, with £1.40 per share to be paid on July 17, 2020, and, barring unforeseen circumstances, three more of the same amount to be paid in October, January and April.

Chairman Hamish Buchan noted that since April 1990, the trust’s NAV has risen at an annual compound rate of 7.0% compared to 3.9% for the FTSE All-Share Index and 2.9% for RPI.

Quick facts: Personal Assets Trust

Price: 44900 GBX

LSE:PNL
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £1.29 billion
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