- BlackRock Smaller Companies Trust topped its benchmark even as annual net assets declined amid a 'challenging year'.

'It has been a challenging year and it is disappointing that the Company’s Net Asset Value per share fell by 6.6%,' the company said.

But the drop in net assets was smaller than that of its benchmark, The Numis Smaller Companies plus AIM (excluding Investment Companies) Index, which decreased by 8.2%.

During the financial year, the company's share price increased by 0.4% to 1,330.00p per share.

'The year was characterised by an increase in volatility with significant declines in global markets at the start of the year offset by a rebound in April 2018,' the company said.

'This was followed by further significant market falls in October and November 2018, driven by geopolitical concerns over the impact of US interest rate rises, uncertainty over trade disputes and increasing fears of a US recession.'

'Higher quality growth stocks were the most severely affected which impacted the portfolio’s relative performance.'

'In the UK, concerns over Brexit and a weaker currency resulted in markets lagging behind other global indices, with UK small and mid-capitalisation companies underperforming their larger peers.'

At 9:43am: [LON:BRSC] BlackRock Smaller Companies Trust PLC share price was -5p at 1445p

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