It looks like it’s going to be another bad day for small cap shares and even the FTSE-100 index is down by 2.8% at the time of writing – but that might have been affected by mega miner BHP going ex-dividend today.
This is what the Chairman of Abrdn UK Smaller Companies Growth Trust (AUSC) had to say in their half-yearly results statement this morning:
“The Board has noted the fall in the share price and the NAV per share since the end of the period, each by more than 19%. This is evidence of the significant and severe rotation that we have seen in the market where investors have been moving out of quality and growth stocks and into value. This is an established phase in the market cycle and, while it makes for grim reading, the Portfolio Managers do not believe that they should try to become timing experts to try to time the change in market sentiment. Past experience leads them to conclude that this phase in the cycle should not be long lasting and that this will, over the longer term, come to be seen as a blip. The Board understands the premise and supports the stance that the Portfolio Managers have taken and I hope that we will be able to confirm this to have been the case when we report on the full year results in the summer”.
They could be right and let us hope so as I hold some shares in the company although I was selling some of them late last year as it seemed that some of their holdings were becoming over-valued.
But some of the abrupt market falls on fears of war in the Ukraine are now providing some buying opportunities.
Anyone who has studied the complex political history of Ukraine will realise that it is rather simplistic for western powers to claim that Russia is simply invading the country in an aggressive show of military power. Ukraine has had close links with Russia since the time of the Cossacks in the 16th century. The Cossacks served Russia in the Napoleonic wars and in the first world war. Ukraine was part of the USSR from 1922 until its breakup in 1991 and a significant proportion of the population speak Russian in the Eastern side of the country.
The notion that Ukraine is not a country in its own right, but a historical part of Russia as Putin has claimed, is not totally unrealistic or unreasonable. One can also understand that Russia might be concerned about the expansion of Nato to include Ukraine when Russia would prefer to have Ukraine as a “buffer” state on its borders.
Peace won’t break out until both sides choose to take less extreme stances in my view.
For those who wish to listen to some great music about the Cossacks from the film Taras Bulba, here is composer and conductor Franz Waxman in a recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CovY06K3NnY
Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson )
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