Now could be a good time to bag an investment bargain

We like investment trusts here at MoneyWeek. And they can be even better during a market crash.

Regular readers will know that we’re big fans of investment trusts here at MoneyWeek. One aspect of trusts that we like seems particularly relevant this week – the fact that you can sometimes pick them up at a discount to the net asset value (NAV) of their underlying portfolio. That’s because, unlike open-ended funds, investment trusts are listed and so the value of their shares trades independently of the value of the assets they own. As a result of this, when there’s a big panic in the markets (as there has been this week) it’s quite feasible that the share price of the trust will be hit alongside the value of its portfolio. So not only are you getting the underlying assets more cheaply than before, you’re also then getting an added discount on top. 

Of course, panic is (surprisingly often) quite rational. The coronavirus means that we are facing an unknown but potentially brutal economic shock. That said, given the emergency moves taken by the Bank of England (see page 8) and also by the chancellor in the budget (see page 12), it’s clear that the government will throw everything it can at the problem to alleviate the economic pain. On top of that, the UK market was not exactly expensive going into this plunge. At its lowest point the FTSE All Share traded on a dividend yield of around 4.8% – not far off the 5.6%-ish level at which it peaked during both of the last recessions. It’s still on around 4.4% – so while you might not pick the bottom, it’s hard to argue that stocks are in any way overvalued.

So what investment trusts look appealing to those who feel that markets might be pricing in the worst? As of Wednesday morning at least, River & Mercantile UK Micro Cap (LSE: RMMC) was trading at a discount of around 20%, compared with a 12-month average of around 15%. If you don’t want to go that far down in terms of company size, try BlackRock Throgmorton (LSE: THRG), now trading at a small discount rather than a premium, or JP Morgan Smaller Companies Investment Trust (LSE: JMI) on a discount of around 12%. 

Beyond the UK, the plunge has also created a chance to get in on some highly rated trusts – RIT Capital Partners (LSE: RCP) now trades at slightly below NAV (compared with a 12-month average premium of over 8%), while highly respected private equity trust 3i (LSE: III), which has traded on an average premium of near-30% over the past year, is now trading at just above NAV. Meanwhile, if you’re still nervy, then as David Stevenson notes on page 27, stocking up on defensive trusts such as Personal Assets (LSE: PNL), which have so far done pretty much exactly what they are meant to do – protect investors’ capital in a downturn – may help.

Recommended

Whether it’s cryptocurrencies or investment trusts, make sure you know what you’re investing in
Investment strategy

Whether it’s cryptocurrencies or investment trusts, make sure you know what you’re investing in

Many people scoff at cryptocurrency speculators pouring money into an asset they may barely understand. But the same could be said of investors in man…
26 Jan 2022
How to invest in energy and metals as tech stocks crash
Commodities

How to invest in energy and metals as tech stocks crash

It’s been a terrible week for stockmarkets. But not everything is crashing – “real” assets such as metals and energy are holding up well and should ha…
26 Jan 2022
Shareholder capitalism: the world’s most powerful asset manager wants you to have your say
ESG investing

Shareholder capitalism: the world’s most powerful asset manager wants you to have your say

Under shareholder capitalism, the owners of the companies the big fund managers invest in are us – yet our voice is rarely heard. Now one asset manage…
26 Jan 2022
Julian Brigden: markets are at a huge inflexion point
Investment strategy

Julian Brigden: markets are at a huge inflexion point

Merryn talks to Julian Brigden of Macro Intelligence 2 Partners about the unwinding of the US stockmarket's super-bubble, and the risks and opportunit…
25 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners
Investment strategy

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners

Under our system of shareholder capitalism it's not fund managers, it‘s the individual investors – the company's ultimate owners – who should be telli…
24 Jan 2022
Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now
Share tips

Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now

Professional investor Fay Ren of the Cerno Pacific Fund highlights three of her favourite Asian stocks to buy now
24 Jan 2022
Temple Bar’s Ian Lance and Nick Purves: the essence of value investing
Investment strategy

Temple Bar’s Ian Lance and Nick Purves: the essence of value investing

Ian Lance and Nick Purves of the Temple Bar investment trust explain the essence of “value investing” – buying something for less than its intrinsic v…
14 Jan 2022