- Witan Investment Trust said its annual performance slipped amid a choppy period for global markets.

The company's net asset value per share total return for the year through December was negative 8.4%.

That underperformed the company's benchmark over the same time period, which posted a return of negative 6.5%.

Witan Investment Trust declared a full-year dividend of 23.5p per share, up 12% on-year.

'Towards the end of 2018, investors became unnerved by concerns that US interest rate rises and tightening liquidity might be overdone, jeopardising global economic growth,' chief executive Andrew Bell said.

'The trade disputes initiated by the US with its trading partners, particularly China, were a further negative factor.'

'Oil price rises earlier in the year had also increased inflation rates, while the uninspiring progress of the Brexit negotiations continued to dampen the domestic mood in the UK.'

'Although it is normal for financial markets to be forward looking they are not clairvoyant, being prone to over-optimism and excessive gloom. Even as the investment mood darkened in December, the prevailing policy worries appeared to be improving.'

'The oil price fell sharply, as new supplies came to the market.'

'This acts as a tax cut for consumers of oil and, by lowering inflation rates, reduces the risk that central banks will have to raise rates to combat inflation.'

'The US-China trade dispute is unresolved but talks are underway to mitigate it.'

'The US Federal Reserve still plans to raise rates but has made clear that its actions are dependent on news from the economy, not on an automated path.

'The risk of a "cliff-edge" Brexit with no transitional arrangements appears to have reduced, although the shape of any ultimate deal remains profoundly uncertain.'

'The risks have been widely analysed over the past two years and may well be largely discounted given the weak performance of the UK stock market.'

'Our managers will continue to take account of the implications of Brexit when selecting stocks for their portfolios.'

'Given the relatively minor economic importance of the UK and the company's global investment remit, this is only one of a number of economic factors affecting the outlook for Witan's portfolio.'

'The risks for the UK domestic economy are more significant and the political uncertainty related to the lack of unity in the government and the radical policies of the opposition continue to cloud investor attitudes towards the UK.'

Story provided by