Welcome to the latest update for The Merchants Trust PLC from the Trust's portfolio manager, Simon Gergel.
In February, the House of Commons passed a draft law to trigger article 50 of the Lisbon treaty for the UK to exit the EU. In corporate news, Warren Buffett backed Kraft Heinz in its takeover offer for the huge food and personal health business Unilever. However, the approach was abandoned, almost as quickly as it started, as it ran into stiff opposition from the company and other stakeholders.
The stock market had a reasonably strong month, continuing its steady appreciation since last summer. The Trust’s NAV rose by 3.03% over the month whilst the FTSE All Share (the Trust’s new benchmark with effect from 1 February 2017) produced a total return of 3.1%. The strongest sectors were personal goods, pharmaceuticals and aerospace & defence. The weakest sectors were in the natural resources area; oil equipment & services, mining and oil & gas producers…