AXA Framlington’s Thomas remains optimistic despite economic stagnation

AXA Framlington senior portfolio manager Nigel Thomas believes businesses are adapting to the changing global economy despite many economists and politicians “wallowing in stagnation or distress”.

Thomas, who is responsible for the £3bn AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities fund, believes there are reasons for optimism in the longer-term, despite global growth being depressed.

He says: “Commerce is dynamic, never a stopped clock. Look at what is happening to the high street and multi- channel retailing. Communication networks using routers, ethernet and internet now consume 10 per cent of the world’s electricity output.”

“At the aggregate level, global growth is depressed, but evidence of a US recovery, combined with a change in the ‘post, post industrial society’, or the ‘information society’, leads to some degree of optimism over the medium-to-long-term.”

Another area Thomas sees growth in is the supply shock of cheap US shale gas which has aided the US recovery.

Thomas has also introduced a holding in UK materials company, Wolseley, in order to gain exposure to a recovery in construction and the economy as a whole within his UK Select Opportunities fund.

He says: “Around 50 percent of Wolseley’s profit comes from the distribution of building materials in North America, and Ashtead is the second largest plant hire company in the US, where a secular change to rental, from owned, equipment is evident.”