In this video update, Alex Crooke, Head of Global Equity Income at Henderson, reveals where his team are finding the best opportunities for equity income and capital growth. He also explains the long-term regional and sector findings from the Henderson Global Dividend Index, a research report into global dividend trends.
Where are the best opportunities?
We are finding interesting opportunities within the financials sector. A number of central banks have started new policies, such as negative interest rates, which have been affecting sentiment and profits in the short term for a number of financial companies. Longer term, we believe this will create value so we are looking to selectively increase our bank exposure in Europe by investing in good-quality recovery companies such as ING, the Dutch multinational banking and financial services company. Insurance is another area that was negatively affected earlier this year but offers the potential for very good dividend growth. The pharmaceuticals sector has been impacted by market rotation this year after a strong 2015 but we believe it remains attractive and recent underperformance is providing an opportunity to invest in quality companies at more attractive valuation levels.
Which are the regional dividend trends?
Key findings from the Henderson Global Dividend Index (HGDI) reveal that Japan and North America have exhibited the best dividend growth during the last two years. We are also seeing some interesting opportunities arise in Europe, where companies are returning to the dividend payment list, particularly in the financials and consumer-related sectors.
Which are the sector dividend trends?
HGDI shows that the technology sector is continuing to provide good dividend growth. A number of companies are increasing their payout ratios (the proportion of profits paid out as dividends) as well as earnings and profits, which is feeding dividends. Pharmaceuticals and financials were the largest sectors in terms of dividend payments in Q1 16, although growth has been moderating. Consumer-based sectors are demonstrating good dividend growth and we expect this to continue through the rest of the year.
Dividend growth outlook
We are seeing a slower environment for dividend growth overall. This reflects slower economic growth from many countries around the world and the fact that payout ratios have reached higher levels than in previous cycles. With earnings, cashflow and ultimately dividends from commodity-based sectors still under pressure from recent price falls, markets with a high percentage of oil or mining companies, such as the UK and Australia, are experiencing dividend cuts. Despite this, many businesses outside of these sectors are delivering sustainable dividend growth.
Why global equity income?
In the current environment the benefits of a global approach to equity income are based on opportunity and value.
In opportunity terms, we can position the strategy away from difficult areas, such as concerns about growth from China and worries about a potential Brexit vote, while accessing growth in other parts of the world.
In terms of value, we are still finding some very good opportunities, with the dividend yield available on equities looking good value relative to bond yields and interest rates. We believe that by maintaining a good-quality bias and searching for opportunities in international markets and sectors we are able to provide an attractive long-term strategy for investors.