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Investment analysis: Are we seeing a strange new world for the bond market?

The combination of low inflation growth and excess liquidity following the ECB’s quantitative easing programme has distorted bond valuations, with some short-duration instruments now offering negative returns. At the beginning of March nearly $3.85trn (£2.56trn) or 17 per cent of developed market global government bonds traded at negative yields, according to Columbia Threadneedle Investments. In […]

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Nic Cicutti: Reflecting on Steve Webb’s legacy

Now that the general election dust is slowly beginning to settle, there is a departing minister whom I want, perhaps surprisingly, to pay tribute to – and another person I would like to welcome into her new role in Government. The person I want to offer praise to is Steve Webb, who lost his north […]

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Asset Allocation: F&C’s Potter puts focus on talented managers

For F&C Investments’ multi-manager Gary Potter betting on talented fund managers rather than focusing on pure asset allocation is how he tries to differentiate his strategy. The £1.1bn F&C MM Navigator Distribution fund, which he manages with Robert Burdett, is “heavily influenced” by the diversification between the various underlying funds that he allocates to, as […]

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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