Monday, 29 September 2008

More investment wisdom from Anthony Bolton

Here's some more words of wisdom from Anthony Bolton, President - Investments at Fidelity.

"The events of this week will be remembered for a while. But I feel we are entering the final phase of the bear market. It started with the downturn in financials, then consumer cyclicals and the next stage was the industrial companies. The last stage will see commodities affected, a process which we have already started to see. I felt that until commodities got broken the bear market could not end. While commodities have suffered some retrenchment in the last few months, I believe they are still over-owned and that there is some way for them to fall before their valuations are justified.

While this is the second bear market of this decade, there are some key differences between them. The TMT boom was all about valuations but the one we have recently experienced was all about return on capital and earnings expectations. However, we are still in a phase where earnings expectations are too high and that has to change.

I believe that some of the most oversold areas of the market, financials and consumer cyclicals, could offer the most potential as the market recovers. However, a focus on balance sheets will remain vital. This year and next year it will be essential to own well financed companies; those companies which have a lot of debt will find it very difficult to renew their arrangements.

Unfortunately, investors tend to get sucked in when prices are high and shaken out when prices are low. If you are going to invest in equities, you have to be prepared to wait it out. I certainly do not believe investors should be selling in these conditions.

Finally, for investors who are thinking of entering the market I think it is important to remember that the market is likely to recover before the economic indicators improve. Therefore, if you wait for the economic indicators you may miss out on the strong rebound that often heralds the start of a new bull run."

Bolton’s opinions are not to be taken lightly. From 1979 to 2006, he ran Fidelity’s UK Special Situations Fund, which returned 20.3% per annum, versus the FTSE All-Share return of 7.7%.

There's a further piece by Bolton here.