Norris pumps Total into Argonaut funds

Argonaut partner Barry Norris has introduced the first oil major into the £322.2m Ignis Argonaut European alpha portfolio and £8.5m Ignis Argonaut European absolute return fund since 2008.

Norris says he introduced a 4 per cent position in oil and gas company Total in the European alpha portfolio and a 3 per cent position in the European absolute return fund last week.

He says: “Large caps have derated for the last 10 years. Total has a dividend yield of 7 per cent, which is attractive and a low level of debt. I think the downside risk of Total cutting its dividend is remote.”

Norris says he is stocking up on higher-quality companies because he expects the spread between corporates will widen. He says: “Global growth will slow and there will be fewer profit surprises from companies.”

BlackRock £1.5bn UK special situations fund manager Richard Plackett also focused on high-quality companies in August, adding to technology and industrial stocks.

He says: “After the current sell-off, we believe we will enter a phase of slow growth. There will be a marked difference between those companies that do well in a slow growth world and those companies that do not. In an environment of slow growth, it is important to be exposed to companies that are high quality, with strong market position and quality management.”