StockMarketWire.com - Stock picker Schroder Asian Total Return Investment Company posted a positive first-half performance that beat its benchmark.

The company's net asset value total return per share for the six months through June was 6.1%.

The company's reference index rose 0.7% and its peer group average rose 3.1% over the same time period.

'Strong stock selection has contributed significantly to this performance with quality stocks proving resilient,' the company said.

Some areas of focus in the portfolio, such as the internet and technology sectors, have proved to be beneficiaries of the business impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it added.

Chairman Sarah MacAulay delivering positive returns was an 'achievement' given 'extremely challenging market conditions.

She warned, however, that the repercussions of Covid-19 were likely to continue to have a negative impact on global economies and stock markets 'both for the remainder of this year and looking further forward'.

'As news of the pandemic hopefully abates, the ongoing concern over US/China trade relations, national security issues in Hong Kong and the US elections in November are likely to continue to cause uncertainty,' MacAulay said.

'The portfolio managers have become more cautious although trading conditions are unlikely to be as volatile as earlier in the year.'

'Valuations for some specific sectors of the market now look steep following very strong performance, although there are still quality stocks to be found at reasonable value.'

MacAulay said the current environment provided 'ample opportunity' for stock pickers 'as benchmark moves belie huge earnings dispersion both within and between sectors'.




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