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Willis Owen shares the best and worst-performing sectors and funds in May 2019

Posted by Adrian Lowcock in Press releases category on 03 Jun 19


  • UK index-linked gilts shine in May as investors turn cautious
  • Seven out of 10 top-performing funds are Government bond funds
  • China and Technology are worst-performing sectors as fortunes are reversed
Adrian Lowcock, Head of Personal Investing, Willis Owen says:

“Financial markets have been very changeable in recent months.  The US-Chinese trade war has once again become a major headwind facing investors and raises concerns about its impact on global growth, which has slowed.  Expectations of where global growth will end up changes with investor sentiment and the outlook for US-Chinese trade negotiations. Trade taxes are a tax on business and therefore on investors.

Fidelity Institutional UK Index Linked Bond was top performer in May – a reminder to investors that diversification can help protect portfolios.  JPM Brazil and JPM India also featured in the top 10 as the latter’s country saw Prime Minister Modi re-elected to office after six weeks of elections and the former shrugged off concerns of a double dip recession.

10 best-performing sectors

Investment Association Sector Percentage Return
UK Index Linked Gilts 6.04
UK Gilts 3.17
Global Emerging Markets Bond 2.75 
Global Bonds 2.46 
Property Other 1.77 
Sterling Corporate Bond 0.77 
Sterling Strategic Bond 0.29 
UK Direct Property 0.09  
IA Specialist -0.01 
Mixed Investment 0-35% Shares -0.04
Source: FE Analytics, performance from 30th April 2019 to 31st May 2019 in pounds sterling on a total return basis

10 best-performing funds

Funds Percentage Return
Fidelity Institutional UK Index Linked Bond 7.03
iShares Index Linked Gilt Index (UK) 6.98
Janus Henderson Index-Linked Bond 6.97 
JPM Brazil Equity 6.9  
JPM India 6.98 
Vanguard Japan Government Bond Index 6.84 
Thesis TM Sanditon European Select 6.82 
Blackrock Institutional Bond Index Linked 6.77  
Newton Index Linked Gilt 6.62 
Insight UK Index Linked Bond 6.6  
Source: FE Analytics, performance from 30th April 2019 to 31st May 2019 in pounds sterling on a total return basis

China took the brunt of investors’ concerns as the spat with US President Donald Trump escalated, suggesting further tariffs on Chinese goods are imminent and a deal is a long way off.

The UK Equity Income sector was the third-worst performer as money continues to flow out of the country. This is hardly surprising as the uncertainty surrounding Brexit just got even more uncertain with Theresa May announcing her resignation.  This means Brexit is unlikely to happen until after the summer and the country could face a possible general election later this year.

The list of worst-performing funds primarily included Chinese equity funds reflecting the poor performance of the sector. But the worst-performing 10 did include three equity funds, such as SJP UK High Income and LF Woodford Equity Income funds. Both funds are managed by Neil Woodford, who has been suffering from a period of underperformance.  Further outflows in recent months and weeks have not helped the manager, who has been forced to sell assets he would rather keep.  The delay in Brexit is unlikely to help Woodford turn his performance around, although it is fair to say Woodford’s assessment of the UK economy has been accurate. 

10 worst-performing sectors

Investment Association Sector Percentage Return
China/Greater China -7.65
Technology & Telecommunications -5.15
UK Equity Income -3.81
Asia Pacific Excluding Japan -3.58
North American Smaller Companies -3.45
Global Emerging Markets -3.29
UK All Companies -3.1
UK Equity & Bond Income -2.82
Asia Pacific Including Japan -2.75
European Smaller Companies -2.69 
Source: FE Analytics, performance from 30th April 2019 to 31st May 2019 in pounds sterling on a total return basis

10 worst-performing funds

Funds Percentage Return
Comgest Growth China -10.94
Schroder ISF Global Energy -10.73
Standard Life Investments UK Equity Recovery -10.08
AXA World Funds Framlington Robotech -9.89 
Guinness Best of China -9.8   
GAM Multistock China Evolution Equity -9.77
SJP UK High Income -9.75
Baillie Gifford China -9.61
LF Woodford Equity Income -9.59
Invesco PRC Equity -9.38
Source: FE Analytics, performance from 30th April 2019 to 31st May 2019 in pounds sterling on a total return basis