Month of bad news delivers 8% hit for Woodford fund

The Woodford Equity Income fund has suffered an 8.1 per cent hit over the last month as Provident Financial becomes the latest portfolio holding to deliver a dramatic fall in share price.

The fund’s assets under management have also fallen below the £10bn mark, which they surpassed in March, now sitting at £9.3bn, according to FE data.

Provident Financial shed two thirds of its stock market value on Tuesday following its second profit warning in three months and a cancellation of the interim dividend.

Woodford’s 18 per cent holding in Provident Financial dropped in value from £300m to £168m and although Neil Woodford says he is “hugely disappointed” by the market announcement that he will still continue to back the firm.

The Equity Income fund suffered the largest hit over the last month, according to FE data, but the Income Focus fund, launched in April, has fallen 4 per cent.

The IA Equity Income has returned -0.6 per cent over the period.

Earlier this month, pharmaceutical company Vernalis, in the Patient Capital Trust and Equity Income, saw its share price drop 10 per cent on hurdles entering the US market.

AstraZeneca and AA both also both suffered double-digit share price drops over the last month. The former suffered from disappointing results in an immuno-oncology drug trail, while the latter saw its chairman removed on a misconduct matter.

Meanwhile, Imperial Brands, one of the top holdings in both the Equity Income and Income Focus funds, fell 4 per cent on news the US was planning to cut nicotine in cigarettes, while Purplebricks suffered a 7 per cent share price fall following a BBC Panorama investigation into misleading claims in the real estate agent’s advertising.

Over three years the Equity Income fund has returned 25 per cent compared to 25.1 per cent in the sector.