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Baring goes aggressively overweight in the Far East

Baring Asset Management has moved to an aggressively overweight position in Hong Kong and Singapore while maintaining its stance on Japan and emerging markets.

BAM says it remains confident that growth in China will, despite predictions to the contrary, continue to grow rapidly, prompting it to maintain its overweight position there. It also believes the rest of the region is in the very early stages of a recovery, aided by the decline of the US dollar which, with each devaluation, improves the East&#39s
competitive position against the Europe for traded goods and services.

Chairman of Baring&#39s strategic policy group Percival Stanion says: “Many commentators have become convinced that the Chinese economy is poised for a sudden downturn. There are signs of excess, but when we look at the contrast between the rhetoric of the authorities, which points to a desire to trim back growth in overheated sectors like property, and their actions, which are still expansionary, we conclude that growth will continue at a very rapid pace.”

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Apple: a stellar technology story

By Ali Unwin, head of technology sector research

Apple recently announced the highest-ever recorded quarterly net profit ($18bn), with the sale of 74.4 million iPhones helping the company deliver $74.6bn of revenue for the quarter ending December 2014. These sales were largely driven by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Highlights included Chinese iPhone sales doubling year-on-year and unit growth of 44% in the US — supposedly a well-penetrated market. Apple ended the quarter with $178bn in cash on its balance sheet, having generated a staggering $30bn in free cash flow during the quarter.

At Neptune, we have been long-term believers in the Apple story, and continue to hold the stock in a number of our portfolios based on the company’s long-term growth prospects. This is predicated on our belief that Apple has proved thus far that it can — unusually for a consumer electronics company — maintain high margins for a sustained period of time, even as adoption of new technology slows down and competitors produce similar-specification products.

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