Partner Insight: Have banking stocks been flying under the radar?

clock • 3 min read
Partner Insight: Have banking stocks been flying under the radar?

Equities have started the year on the front foot. World stock markets have notched modest gains, with a number of US tech giants already posting double digit returns for the year. Leading the way is artificial intelligence champion Nvidia, which is up well over 50%. Bond investors have been less lucky. So far this year, core US inflation has run at a 4%+ annualised rate, defying expectations that price increases will smoothly slow. That stubborn inflation has pushed up expectations for interest rates, with the 2-year Treasury yield rising to 5%. As bond yields have risen, their prices have fallen.

The date is March 9th, 2023, and the next day, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapsed as losses on its bond portfolio prompted a run by its depositors. Credit Suisse and First Republic fell in its wake, leading to unorthodox interventions from authorities and fear of banking contagion rippling through global markets.

Given that panic, it is remarkable to be back where we were just over a year ago—every observation in the first paragraph also applies year to date in 2024. Interest rate expectations have gone on a round trip, inflation is still running hot, and the tech titans are still thriving. (In another echo of early 2023, a small bank called Republic First collapsed just last week.)

More remarkable still is that the banks held in the Orbis Strategies the day before SVB collapsed have outperformed since then. Who would have imagined that the last year would be a rewarding time to own selected banks?

That they have survived did not surprise us. Most of our Strategies were overweight banks, but we held none in the US, and those we did hold were better capitalised, more diversified, and more conservatively run than the banks that got in trouble. Our core group was a diverse bunch, including Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings in Japan; AIB, Bank of Ireland, and ING in Europe, and KB Financial, Shinhan Financial, and Hana Financial in Korea. All but MUFG are still significant holdings in at least one of our Strategies, and all but Bank of Ireland have outperformed both world stock markets and world banks in local currency terms.

 

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. The value of investments in the Orbis Funds may fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you originally invested. It is therefore important that you understand the risks involved before investing. This report represents Orbis' view at a point in time and provides reasoning or rationale on why we bought or sold a particular security for the Orbis Funds. We may take the opposite view/position from that stated in this report. This is because our view may change as facts or circumstances change. This report constitutes general advice only and not personal financial product, tax, legal, or investment advice, and does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation or individual needs of any particular person. This report does not prohibit the Orbis Funds from dealing in the securities before or after the report is published.

Advertisement

More on Equities

Wealth giant St James's Place relegated from FTSE 100

Wealth giant St James's Place relegated from FTSE 100

SJP will drop out of the blue-chip index later this month

James Baxter-Derrington
clock 06 June 2024 • 1 min read
Partner Insight: Are equities really overvalued?

Partner Insight: Are equities really overvalued?

Value dispersion means there are plenty of cheap opportunities

Gareth Jones
clock 09 February 2024 • 1 min read
Partner Insight: How much value is there in UK equities?

Partner Insight: How much value is there in UK equities?

‘As different as they are attractive’

The UK Equities Team at Invesco
clock 07 February 2024 • 1 min read

In-depth

Serving HNW clients: 'Advisers must take a greater deal of care'

Serving HNW clients: 'Advisers must take a greater deal of care'

‘They need bespoke strategies with the expertise of multiple advisers’

Isabel Baxter
clock 17 June 2024 • 5 min read
Editor's View: The week we have all been waiting for...manifestos!

Editor's View: The week we have all been waiting for...manifestos!

The editor's Friday Night Takeaway from 14 June

Hope Coumbe
clock 14 June 2024 • 1 min read
Multi-asset sentiment indicator: Interest up for small and mid-caps

Multi-asset sentiment indicator: Interest up for small and mid-caps

'The consensus outlook for inflation and interest rates has shifted'

Paul Ilott
clock 12 June 2024 • 8 min read