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Bolton puts a stop on bull buoyancy

Fidelity special situations fund manager Anthony Bolton has declared the bull run of the last three years is over.

Speaking at the Securities and Investment Institute conference in London last week, Bolton, who steps down at the end of next year said: “I have been more cautious in the last few weeks. I have looked much more at what people are doing. The bull market has been running for three years-plus. I was looking at clients and stocks and I thought this party has to end. The appetite for risk was worrying.”

To protect his 6.5bn portfolio from his prediction of a market slowdown, Bolton said he had been buying “lower-risk, cheaply valued stocks” which had recently included stocks from the pharmaceuticals, travel and leisure and media sectors.

He said: “I have taken a put option on the markets. It is money I see as written off but it will protect me if markets keep falling.”

Bolton revealed that he has recently switched the weighting of his investments away from small and midcap stocks back towards FTSE 100 index companies “because that is where you will find the anomalies today”.

He elaborated on his contrarian approach to stockpicking, revealing that “some of the best investments I have made I have not felt comfortable with at the beginning”.

Bolton said he had avoi-ded mining stocks recently in favour of oil and gas because he would “rather be in a place that has not seen recent big net buying”.

He said that balance-sheet risk was fundamental to his selections. He said: “Some of my biggest mistakes have been companies with weak balance sheets.”

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