3rd Quarter 2018

Portfolio managers are supported by the entire Thornburg investment team.

Download PDF

For the third quarter of 2018, Thornburg International Growth ADR Strategy-Wrap returned negative 3.42% (net of fees), trailing its benchmark, the MSCI All Country World ex-U.S. Growth Index, which returned negative 0.26%. This brings the year-to-date return to negative 1.97% for the strategy, versus negative 2.54% for the index.

U.S. equities maintained their steady advance this quarter, at one point reaching new all-time highs. The story internationally, however, was relatively less encouraging as those markets struggled to find their footing. Although developed international market indices notched a slightly positive return, the emerging markets were once again in negative territory. Additional tariff announcements took a toll on investor sentiment, most notably for Chinese-based equities as well as the renminbi, which both saw their values decline during the quarter. Headlines continue to be dominated by trade, even as global economic activity continues to expand. We are seeing mounting trade concerns sap incremental growth from more export-oriented economies, such as China and the eurozone, and thus the pace of economic expansion has deteriorated. Investors remain keenly focused on what happens next in terms of trade, given the wide-ranging implications to our highly integrated global economy and equity markets.

Performance Discussion

During the quarter, our benchmark was slightly negative with communication services and consumer discretionary detracting most notably. We were overweight each of these sectors. The overweight to consumer discretionary, along with stock selection within the sector, ultimately led to our underperformance relative to the benchmark. The topperforming sector within the benchmark was health care. Our overweight to this sector was beneficial, although stock selection here detracted. Our best-performing sector was information technology, where we experienced relatively limited impact from allocation effects, but realized a performance benefit from stock selection.

Despite delivering positive returns in local currency terms, the benchmark produced negative returns as the U.S. dollar gained broadly against most foreign currencies. This acted as a headwind to returns for dollar-based investors, and once adjusted for currency, only five out of 11 of the benchmark’s sectors were in positive territory.

From a geographic perspective, the strategy realized negative performance relative to the index, primarily due to a significant underweight to Japan, along with stock selection within Japan and Hong Kong. Holdings within developed North America, the eurozone, and Mexico were among the most positive contributors on a geographic basis.

Primary contributors to performance for the quarter included German online payments company Wirecard AG; global payments solutions provider Worldpay, Inc.; Swiss drug manufacturer Lonza Group AG; French payment and benefit solutions provider Edenred SA; and U.K.-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca plc.

Long-time holding Wirecard delivered a solid set of financial results during the quarter and raised guidance for this year and 2020. Robust results reflect strong underlying execution as well as Wirecard being well positioned to continue to benefit from the secular growth dynamic of payments digitization.

Worldpay reported an earnings update that saw organic revenue growth accelerate above market expectations. Furthermore, management for the first time quantified for investors the considerable revenue synergy opportunity arising from the merger of Worldpay and Vantiv.

Lonza held a capital markets day and expressed a high degree of confidence in achieving its medium-term financial goals, given its competitive position, the demand environment, and the investments it is undertaking today to sustain growth momentum.

Edenred rallied as its latest earnings report showed an acceleration of all its key performance indicators from the prior quarter. In addition, Edenred’s operations in Brazil realized positive growth after several quarters of declines.

AstraZeneca saw its shares increase for a variety of reasons, including a solid second-quarter earnings report with revenues exceeding expectations, driven in part by outperformance from its newer oncology drugs. We also received additional clinical data points, including a particularly positive one for its cancer drug Imfinzi (durvalumab).

Principal detractors to performance this quarter were German e-commerce company Zalando SE, Chinese educational services provider TAL Education Group, German pharmaceutical and agricultural chemicals company Bayer AG, and Macau casino operators Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and MGM China Holdings Ltd.

Zalando cut growth and margin guidance, due to extremely warm summer weather across Europe, leading to lower consumer demand for fashion, higher discounting, and a delayed start to the fall/ winter apparel season.

TAL shares fell as the Chinese government enacted additional regulations on the education sector to set a higher bar for the industry and to reduce the academic burden on students. Although these changes will pressure growth and margins for many companies near term, we believe over the long term high-quality industry leaders with well-defined online strategies, such as TAL, will ultimately be market-share gainers as smaller providers are squeezed out.

During the quarter, Bayer’s recently closed Monsanto business received a highly punitive jury verdict in a California case over the health of the company’s leading crop protection chemical, glyphosate. Despite the overwhelming scientific body of evidence supporting the safety of glyphosate, the litigation introduced a level of uncertainty in the shares that severely impaired our original thesis. Both Galaxy and MGM China shares were weak as investors grew increasingly concerned regarding the pace of future gross gaming revenue growth as the combination slowing economic growth in China arising from trade tensions, a declining value of the renminbi, and tighter liquidity conditions for VIP players all took their toll on sentiment in the sector.

NOTABLE PURCHASES
(June 2018–August 2018)
NOTABLE SALES
(3Q18)
YOOX SpA Lonza Group AG
Criteo S.A. Nihon M&A Center, Inc.
Cielo S.A. Ubisoft Entertainment
Bayer AG
British American Tobacco plc
MGM China Holdings Ltd.
Netent AB

Notable purchases and sales includes material transactions other than recently purchased securities, which may be excluded for best execution purposes.

 

Outlook

There are few signs that the trade confrontation between the U.S. and China is set to ease in the near term. The trade pressure that the U.S. is exerting upon China seems to be part of a broader geopolitical strategy. China’s rise toward dominant superpower status means a formidable rival to the U.S. for global leadership, and the trade actions may just be part of an overall more aggressive policy stance by the U.S. toward China to undercut the Middle Kingdom’s rise. China has not backed down, responding in a tit-for-tat manner, but given its roughly $375 billion trade deficit with the U.S., China is simply unable to levy a counter-balancing level of tariffs. Both sides seem resolute in standing their respective ground, although the U.S. is relatively better positioned economically to weather the trade dispute, given strong underlying economic growth, supported by a massive amount of tax-reform-driven fiscal stimulus and a decreasing regulatory burden under the Trump administration. China’s economy is showing signs of slowing and stress, although policymakers are enacting stimulus and devaluing the renminbi to offset increasing U.S. tariffs. A major risk is an uncontained and severe version of what played out in 2015, where too rapid a decline in the renminbi ends up being highly disruptive, destabilizing the financial system, leading to a fall in confidence and large capital outflows. Additionally, too much devaluation of the renminbi may elicit further outcry and policy responses from the U.S. Uncertainty remains high, and we will continue to closely monitor the unfolding situation.

Elsewhere in the world, the crises in some of the more fragile emerging markets seemed relatively contained, and thus are unlikely to spread to such an extent as to derail global growth. We actively tend to shy away from emerging economies that run large current account deficits and are dependent on foreign capital. The risk that we seek to avoid is precisely the one that we have seen play out in the most vulnerable countries, such as Turkey and Argentina. That is, when U.S. rates increase, attracting foreign capital to plug your current account gap becomes incrementally more difficult, if not downright painful from a currency devaluation standpoint.

In Europe, unemployment reached another post-crisis low and although global trade concerns are weighing on exports, we believe local consumption can help offset that, given the strength in domestic labor markets and thus rising personal incomes. The U.K. continues to negotiate Brexit with the E.U., and while news flow seems to oscillate between hard and soft Brexit scenarios, we believe that ultimately negotiations will result in a semi-soft Brexit outcome.

We have always managed this strategy with a long-term perspective, and while volatility and uncertainty are at elevated levels, our focus has been and remains on seeking to deliver our investors superior risk-adjusted returns through a full market cycle. We strive to achieve this through our fundamentally driven process, which employs rigorous, bottom-up analysis that seeks to invest in the most compelling high-quality businesses internationally. These tend to have robust business models that are resilient to disruption and are ideally the industry disruptors themselves, but which we think are undervalued by the market for their long-term growth potential. We are excited about the prospects of the individual companies in the portfolio today and believe they can collectively create substantial business value over the long run.

We thank you for investing in Thornburg International Growth ADR Strategy– Wrap.

Contributors to Performance
(Representative Account)
Name Contrib % Avg Wgt %
Wirecard AG 1.03 3.58
Worldpay, Inc 0.67 3.15
Lonza Group AG 0.49 2.05
Edenred 0.39 2.53
AstraZeneca plc 0.35 2.85
Detractors from Performance
(Representative Account)
Name Contrib % Avg Wgt %
Zalando SE -0.71 2.20
Bayer AG -0.64 2.07
MGM China Holdings Ltd. -0.55 1.00
Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. -0.52 2.67
TAL Education Group -0.51 1.56

Past performance does not guarantee future results. To obtain the calculation methodology and a list showing the contribution of each holding in the representative account to the overall account's performance during the reporting period, please email a request to bdg@thornburg.com. The holdings identified do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended for advisory clients.

Important Information

Performance data for the International Growth ADR Strategy is from the International Growth ADR Wrap Composite, inception date of May 1, 2010. The International Growth ADR Wrap Composite includes discretionary wrap accounts invested in the International ADR Growth Strategy. Returns are calculated using a time-weighted and asset-weighted calculation including reinvestment of dividends and income. Periods less than one year are not annualized. Individual account performance will vary. The performance data quoted represents past performance; it does not guarantee future results. “Pure” Gross returns do not reflect the deduction of any expenses, including trading costs and are supplemental to net returns. Beginning January 1, 2009, net returns reflect the deduction of the maximum total wrap fee which is currently 3% per annum. Net returns are derived from subtracting 1/12th of 3% from each account's monthly gross return. The total wrap fee includes all charges for the trading costs, portfolio management, custody and other administrative fees. Prior to January 1, 2009 net returns reflect actual wrap fees for each account in the composite. Beginning January 1, 2014 returns reflect the deduction of transaction costs for some accounts in the composite. The standard fee schedule currently in effect is: 1% to 3% on all assets. Fees may be negotiated in lieu of the standard fee schedule. Actual fees may vary depending on, among other things, the applicable fee schedule and portfolio size. The firm's fees are available upon request and also may be found in Part II of its Form ADV.

 As of 9/30/18

1 Yr

3 Yr

5 Yr

Inception 5/1/2010

International Growth ADR Wrap Composite (NET)   -0.50% 8.85% 2.68% 7.10%
International Growth ADR Wrap Composite (“PURE” GROSS)  2.49% 12.09 5.76% 10.30%
MSCI AC World ex-U.S. Growth Index  3.08% 10.59% 5.32% 5.87%

Unless otherwise noted, the source of all data, charts, tables and graphs is Thornburg Investment Management, Inc., as of 9/30/18.

The views expressed are subject to change and do not necessarily reflect the views of Thornburg Investment Management, Inc. This information should not be relied upon as a recommendation or investment advice and is not intended to predict the performance of any investment or market.

Holdings may change daily and may vary among accounts.

The information provided herein should not be considered a recommendation to purchase or sell any particular security. There is no assurance that any securities discussed herein will remain in an account's portfolio at the time you receive this report or that securities sold have not been repurchased. The securities discussed may not represent an account's entire portfolio and in the aggregate may represent only a small percentage of an account's portfolio holdings. It should not be assumed that any of the securities transactions or holdings discussed were or will prove to be profitable, or that the investment recommendations or decisions we make in the future will be profitable or will equal the investment performance of the securities discussed herein.

Portfolio holdings and characteristics shown herein are from a representative account managed within the investment composite. The representative account is selected based on account characteristics that Thornburg believes accurately represent the investment strategy as a whole. Should these characteristics change materially, Thornburg may select a different representative account. Holdings may change daily and may vary among accounts, which may contribute to different investment results. The representative account information is supplemental to the strategy’s composite and GIPS compliant presentation.

Portfolio construction will have significant differences from that of a benchmark index in terms of security holdings, industry weightings, asset allocations and number of positions held, all of which may contribute to performance, characteristics and volatility differences. Investors may not make direct investments into any index.

Please see our glossary for a definition of terms.