Anthony Bolton: the market won't wait

Investors who are too bearish in a crisis like this risk missing out on the recovery, says Anthony Bolton, non-executive director of Fidelity International,

“The stockmarket won’t wait for things to get better,” reckons Anthony Bolton, the former star manager who ran the Fidelity Special Situations fund for 28 years before retiring in 2007. So investors who are too bearish in a crisis like this risk missing out on the recovery. “‘The question you need to ask yourself is ‘am I happy to buy at today’s prices?’,” he tells Bloomberg. “There is this temptation always to keep waiting to get a better chance. But you might not [get one].” If you think that current valuations are attractive on a long-term view, it’s an “opportunity to buy”, regardless of the short-term economic outlook. 

Bolton began investing again at the end of March, he tells the Financial Times, after increasing his cash holdings last year because valuations were stretched. He didn’t disclose what he is buying, but suggested that troubled businesses in key sectors were likely to benefit from state support around the world. “There’s almost an element of governments competing. If we save the [UK] airlines, the Germans are not going to let Lufthansa go bust.”

A high-profile return from retirement in 2010 to run the Fidelity China Special Situations fund ended after four years of lacklustre returns, but Bolton still sees opportunities there: Chinese and emerging-market firms are well placed as they know how to make decisions in fast-moving environments, he tells Investment Week. More broadly, investors should look for management teams that are “flexible and pragmatic” to find firms that will be resilient in this crisis.

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