Published on: June 22, 2018

Looks like it’s going to be a scorcher! And this weekend’s weather seems to be lining up pretty well too. Welcome to the latest News, Views and Truths.

Of particular interest within the halls of Three Counties this week was the news that two of the UK’s largest fund managers are on a collision course over the control of haulage company Stobbart. It is not particularly unusual for rival firms to vie for a large stockholding within a company, whether this be for an influence at board level or due to their positive view of the stock.

However, what makes this case different is that each manager is backing a different management group.

Mark Barnett, manager of the Invesco Perpetual suite of UK Equity Income funds, is backing the current chairman of the company, Iain Ferguson, who in June removed former company CEO, Andrew Tinkler. This was due to comments made by Mr Tinkler who wished for Mr Ferguson to be removed and for the company to pursue a different business strategy. Invesco Perpetual is the largest shareholder in the Stobart Group, with a 25.99% holding.

On the flip side of this stands Neil Woodford, ex Invesco Perpetual fund manager, ex-boss of Mark Barnett and owner of Woodford Asset Management. He owns 19.94% of the Stobbart Group and, guess what? He backs Andrew Tinkler.

It’s anyone’s guess as to how this will play out. What we do know is that there is legal action at present between the two sides and Stobbart’s shares have dropped from £2.94 to £2.58 over the past 12 months.

Literally, trucking hell… (sorry, not my idea).

And it’s not been too good a week in global markets as a result of an escalation in US trade tariffs. The FTSE 100 closed last night down 0.98%, with the mid cap FTSE 250 returning negative 1.26%. Europe and Emerging Markets have suffered far worse with -2.76% and -2.57% respectively; the EU has responded to the US tariffs with imposing their own on Harley Davidson’s amongst other good. The US S&P 500 is down 0.84% and the Japanese Nikkei 225 broadly flat, closing for the week down 0.02%.

The Bank of England have retained interest rates at 0.50%, although 3 members of the monetary policy committee did support an increase, leading commentators to expect a 0.25% increase in next month’s meeting; we will see how that pans out.

And to finish, as usual I have compiled a playlist. This week, taking reference to the battle for the haulage company, I hope you all have a great weekend.

And keep on trucking.

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