Scottish Mortgage sees NAV fall, but earnings rise

Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, the FTSE 250-listed trust run by investment manager Baillie Gifford, saw net asset value (NAV) decline in the first half, though earnings were helped higher by dividend-paying companies on the portfolio.

Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, the FTSE 250-listed trust run by investment manager Baillie Gifford, saw net asset value (NAV) decline in the first half, though earnings were helped higher by dividend-paying companies on the portfolio.

NAV per share dropped by 1.5% over the six months to September 30th, while its share price declined by 1.6%, more or less in line with the FTSE All-World Index which fell 1.5% in sterling terms.

However, earnings per share totalled 12.53p during the half, up 16% from 10.83p the year before due to a "continuing healthy dividend stream from the portfolio".

The board raised its interim dividend from 6.2p to 6.7p, "a rise that is well above inflation", the group assured.

Nevertheless, despite NAV decreasing in the first half, the company claims that its performance over longer periods is "more relevant" given the approach adopted: "the portfolio is not managed in a way that tries to time markets but instead the focus is on careful and deliberate consideration of existing and potential investments in companies."

In this respect, the company said that the NAV total return (capital and dividends) per share over a three-, five- and 10-year period was 41%, 17% and 217%, respectively. Meanwhile, the share price has improved by 47%, 20% and 255%, respectively. "These figures are ahead of those of the FTSE All-World Index which were 23%, 18% and 139%," the firm said.

"The opening events of the financial crisis took place about five years ago and subsequently markets fell very sharply. The effect of this can be seen in the long term figures where the five year returns are lower than those on either side. This base effect means that the five year figures will be volatile over the coming year until they work through the calculation."

The company retained its optimistic outlook, saying: "As ever, the fortunes and progress of individual companies determines long term performance and equity investment is not without risk and uncertainty. However, the opportunity set does not appear to be waning at all and is fertile ground for patient long term investors.

"The US presidential election, Eurozone developments, global political factors and the unexpected will, as always, occupy headlines."

Shares were down 0.43% at 696.5p in early trading on Friday.

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