Wednesday 1st April 2015
NEWS TICKER: TUESDAY MARCH 31st 2015 : Following a recent Morningstar Analyst Ratings Meeting, Morningstar has downgraded the Artemis UK Smaller Companies fund to a Morningstar Analyst Rating™ of Silver. The fund previously held a Gold rating. Morningstar continues to believe the experienced manager and robust process make this a strong choice for UK small-cap exposure, but Morningstar feels a Silver rating provides a better reflection of the fund’s relative merits within the sector. Indeed, given the manager’s focus on high-quality companies with resilient business models, Morningstar would have expected the fund to protect investors’ capital in 2014 to a greater extent than it did; an outcome which has slightly dented Morningstar’s conviction in the manager’s application of his process - President of the European Council Donald Tusk’s meeting with Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy today covered many points, but concern over a lack of government in Libya and the causes and consequences of instability and insecurity in the Southern Neighbourhood took up much of the discussion. “The Prime Minister and I had a very open discussion on both the causes and consequences of instability and insecurity in the Southern Neighbourhood. We had a good exchange on what the European Union is already doing - in terms of assistance, counter-terrorism and migration - and how we can better target our efforts to make a real difference,” notes Tusk in a briefing note issued today - Data published today by the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) using Matrix Financial Clarity suggests that investment company total purchases on platforms by advisers and wealth managers were 19% higher least year (with purchases worth £452.7m) and more than double the figure in 2012. In Q4 2014, platform purchases of investment companies were at £110.3m, 10% higher than purchases of £100.3m in Q4 2013 and 90% higher than purchases of £58.1m in Q4 2012. Investment company purchases at £110.3m in Q4 2014 were stable when compared to £110.6m in Q3 2014. Whilst 2014 was a strong year for purchases there was also a significant increase in sales, which rose 40% to £290.9m compared to £208.4m in 2013, suggesting some advisers and wealth managers are taking profits and rebalancing portfolios. Ian Sayers, Chief Executive, AIC, said: “Though sales have increased, we should remember that this trading activity all helps to improve liquidity. The AIC has trained over 3,000 advisers in response to RDR, and has recently increased its resource in this area, with the recruitment of Nick Britton, the AIC’s Head of Training. This will help us to increase awareness and understanding of investment companies with a refreshed training programme and the capability to meet and support more advisers.” The Global and UK Equity Income sectors were the most popular for advisers and wealth managers in 2014 overall, accounting for 18% and 13% of purchases respectively. The Infrastructure and Property Direct – UK were the third and fourth most popular sectors over 2014, accounting for 8% and 7% of purchases respectively. Transact and Ascentric continue to be the top platforms for investment company purchases, accounting for 49% and 20% of the market respectively in 2014. Alliance Trust Savings are increasing in popularity with financial advisers, their market share increasing to 18% in 2014 from 12% in 2013 - The Straits Times Index (STI) ended -7.25 points lower or -0.21% to 3447.01, taking the year-to-date performance to +2.43%. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined -0.17% while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined -0.24%. The top active stocks were SingTel (+0.46%), DBS (-0.10%), UOB (-0.99%), Global Logistic (+0.38%) and OCBC Bank (-0.75%). The outperforming sectors today were represented by the FTSE ST Technology Index (+1.08%). The two biggest stocks of the FTSE ST Technology Index are Silverlake Axis (+1.86%) and STATS ChipPAC (unchanged). The underperforming sector was the FTSE ST Basic Materials Index, which declined -1.88% with Midas Holdings’ share price declining -3.23% and Geo Energy Resources’ share price declining -0.52%. The three most active Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) by value today were the IS MSCI India (+0.13%), DBXT MSCI China TRN ETF (+1.25%), DBXT FT China 25 ETF (+0.28%). The three most active Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) by value were CapitaMall Trust (+0.92%), Ascendas REIT (+1.17%), Suntec REIT (-1.07%). The most active index warrants by value today were HSI25000MBeCW150429 (+6.12%), HSI24800MBeCW150528 (+5.80%), HSI24000MBePW150528 (-7.32%) - Mississippi’s Rankin County School District has issued an online survey meant to gauge public opinion of a potential bond issue to build new classrooms. The bond issue would be used for construction of new instructional facilities, and school board officials have been discussing the possibility for a while. No specific details of the amount or number of facilities have been released, but school board Vice President Ann Sturdivant said district personnel are working to assess the needs. Rankin voters rejected a $169.5m bond issue in 2011 to upgrade and build new classrooms, but Sturdivant said she believes people see the need to remedy overcrowding issues, particularly in the Florence, Brandon and Northwest zones and that tapping the US debt capital markets will be a logical step -

Prime money market funds credit profiles weaken says Moody's

Thursday, 09 May 2013
Prime money market funds credit profiles weaken says Moody's The credit profiles of euro-denominated, US prime, and sterling prime money market funds (MMFs) worsened slightly in the first quarter of 2013, says Moody's Investors Service in its quarterly MMF reports published today. According to the ratings agency  continued constraints on supply of high-quality short-term assets, and the prolonged period of low interest rates leading MMF portfolios to migrate to lower rated assets are behind the deterioration. Moody's quarterly MMF reports evaluate market trends and the evolution of MMFs' risk factors, including credit, liquidity and market risks, based on the aggregated data of Moody's rated MMFs. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

The credit profiles of euro-denominated, US prime, and sterling prime money market funds (MMFs) worsened slightly in the first quarter of 2013, says Moody's Investors Service in its quarterly MMF reports published today. According to the ratings agency  continued constraints on supply of high-quality short-term assets, and the prolonged period of low interest rates leading MMF portfolios to migrate to lower rated assets are behind the deterioration. Moody's quarterly MMF reports evaluate market trends and the evolution of MMFs' risk factors, including credit, liquidity and market risks, based on the aggregated data of Moody's rated MMFs.

Prime euro-denominated MMFs experienced further credit deterioration and maturity extensions in Q1, largely driven by the prolonged low rate environment and constraints on supply of high-quality assets. Their credit profiles saw a modest deterioration in Q1 2013, reflected by the decrease in investments in securities rated Aaa, Aa1 and Aa2, claims Moody's. Overnight liquidity decreased significantly to 30.5% of assets under management (AUM), after it peaked at 37.4% at end-2012, due to the continued pressures on funds' yields, and the resulting need for funds to invest their cash in higher- yielding instruments, it adds.

The low interest-rate environment and low yields across the sector prompted a decrease in euro MMFs AUM to 74.8bn. The increased exposure to relatively long-dated securities—combined with the modest credit profile deterioration—increased funds' sensitivity to market risk. As the credit pressures on European banks continue, funds' aggregate exposure to European financial institutions decreased 20% to €29bn at the end of March from €36bn at the beginning of the quarter. Exposure to UK financial institutions decreased significantly by 51%, followed by German (-27%) and French financial institutions (-10%).



Meanwhile, there has been  a modest credit deterioration, as 2.2% of investments in US domiciled funds and 3.8% in offshore domiciled funds moved from Aaa and Aa-rated securities to A-rated securities. Approximately 23% of investments in all Moody's-rated MMFs were rated Aaa, says Moody's. Overnight liquidity remained high, at around 39% of US domiciled fund assets and 34% in offshore domiciled funds on average.

In addition, the funds' sensitivity to market risk increased modestly in this quarter due to the increased exposure to slightly longer-dated securities combined with the modest deterioration in funds' credit profiles.

Combined AUM of U.S. domiciled funds declined 3.5% to $662bn, while the combined AUM of European and offshore domiciled funds increased 3% to $242bn.

Moody's says that prime sterling-denominated MMFs experienced further credit deterioration and maturity extensions in Q1, largely driven by the prolonged low rate environment. Funds' credit profiles saw a modest decline in credit quality, due to the credit degradation of the UK, as reflected by Moody's downgrade of UK government's bond rating in February by one notch to Aa1. Sterling MMFs' liquidity trend has been negative throughout Q1, due to fund managers' increased investment of cash and cash-like securities in their search for higher yield. This also led to increase the funds' WAM by 3.8 days throughout the quarter. Given the increased exposure to relatively long-dated securities, combined with the modest deterioration in the credit profile, funds' sensitivity to market risk increased.

Combined AUM increased by 2.5% to GBP114.8 billion during the quarter, despite the low interest-rate environment and low yields across the sector. While exposure to European financial institutions remained stable during the quarter at 49% or GBP56 billion, there have been significant country shifts. Exposure to Dutch and French financial institutions decreased by 5% and 4%, respectively, and exposures to UK and Swedish financial institutions increased by 19% and 6%, respectively.


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