Sprott Focused Global Dividend Class

January 2018 Commentary

In January 2018, the Sprott Focused Global Dividend Class generated a total return of 3.82% compared to the S&P Global 1200 Index, which generated a total return of 3.09% in CAD.

Returns in the first month of the year were excellent on an absolute basis and good on a relative basis. From a broader perspective, the traditional interest rate-sensitive sectors (telecommunications, real estate and utilities) have been under pressure since last December, as the US 10-year Treasury yield rallied above 2.40%.  By late January, with the US 10-year Treasury yield approaching 2.85% driven by fears of rising inflation and accelerated FED tightening, the broader equity markets had joined the correction. However it is important to remember that global economic data remains positive and 2018 expected earnings growth looks to be exceptional. Therefore, we don’t expect anything more than a sharp but normal mid-cycle correction to play out in the markets.

At the beginning of the year, our USD exposure was unhedged, in line with our benchmark.  Our modelling continues to indicate that the Canadian dollar is likely to weaken in 2018. However, recent oil price strength and accelerating global growth has led to US dollar weakness. On counter-trend rallies we have begun to add USD/CAD hedges in order to reduce currency-related volatility in the Fund in 2018.

Top contributors to the January performance of the Sprott Focused Global Dividend Class included Credit Agricole (+39 bps), Mastercard (+36 bps) and Alphabet (+36 bps). Top detractors in January included Brookfield Asset Management (-24 bps), Affiliated Managers Group (-14 bps) and Suncor Energy (-11 bps). There was nothing unusual driving the performance of any of these names in the month, one way or another, although AMG did report slightly disappointing earnings at month end.  

As crude oil prices rallied from the lows of 2017, we built positions in both Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB LN) and Total SA (FP FP) in the Sprott Global Dividend Class. Both of these companies are considered global supermajors, with large upstream (exploration and production), downstream (refining, marketing and distribution) and chemicals businesses.  Royal Dutch Shell currently trades at a forward P/E multiple of 13.8x and offers a gross dividend yield of 6.1%.  Our confidence in the story was bolstered when the Company recently cancelled its scrip dividend program, which offered a share-based alternative to cash payments, with future dividends to be settled entirely in cash.  Total currently trades at a forward P/E multiple of 13.2x and offers a gross dividend yield of 5.5%. Our interest in Total was triggered by the completion of a three-year, $10 billion asset sale program, which high-graded the portfolio and cut production costs from almost $10 per boe (barrel of oil equivalent) to less than $5.50 per boe in 2017.  Both companies are poised to generate significant cash flow in the current oil price environment.

The Sprott Focused Global Dividend Class was concentrated in 28 positions as at January 31, 2018 with the top 10 holdings accounting for approximately 41.7% of the fund.  Over the past year, 20 out of our 28 holdings have announced a dividend increase, with an average hike of 15.8%.  We will continue to apply a disciplined investment process, balancing various quality and valuation metrics, in an effort to generate solid risk-adjusted returns.

Jeffrey Sayer, CFA

1 All returns and fund details are a) based on Series F shares; b) net of fees; c) annualized if period is greater than one year; d) as at January 31, 2018; e) 2015 annual returns are from 11/25/15 to 12/31/15. The index is S&P GLOBAL 1200 TR (CAD) and is computed by Ninepoint Partners LP based on publicly available index information.

The Fund is generally exposed to the following risks. See the prospectus of the Fund for a description of these risks: ADR risk; Capital depletion risk; Concentration risk; Credit risk; Currency risk; Cybersecurity risk; Derivatives risk; Exchange traded funds risk; Foreign investment risk; Inflation risk; Interest rate risk; Liquidity risk; Market risk; Rule 144A and other exempted securities risk; Securities lending, Repurchase and reverse repurchase transactions risk; Series risk; Short selling risk; Specific issuer risk; Tax risk.

Ninepoint Partners LP is the investment manager to the Ninepoint Funds (collectively, the “Funds”). Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees, performance fees (if any), and other expenses all may be associated with investing in the Funds. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing. The indicated rate of return for series F shares of the Fund for the period ended January 31, 2018 is based on the historical annual compounded total return including changes in share value and reinvestment of all distributions and does not take into account sales, redemption, distribution or optional charges or income taxes payable by any unitholder that would have reduced returns. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. The information contained herein does not constitute an offer or solicitation by anyone in the United States or in any other jurisdiction in which such an offer or solicitation is not authorized or to any person to whom it is unlawful to make such an offer or solicitation. Prospective investors who are not resident in Canada should contact their financial advisor to determine whether securities of the Fund may be lawfully sold in their jurisdiction.

The opinions, estimates and projections (“information”) contained within this report are solely those of Ninepoint Partners LP and are subject to change without notice. Ninepoint Partners makes every effort to ensure that the information has been derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, Ninepoint Partners assumes no responsibility for any losses or damages, whether direct or indirect, which arise out of the use of this information. Ninepoint Partners is not under any obligation to update or keep current the information contained herein. The information should not be regarded by recipients as a substitute for the exercise of their own judgment. Please contact your own personal advisor on your particular circumstances. Views expressed regarding a particular company, security, industry or market sector should not be considered an indication of trading intent of any investment funds managed by Ninepoint Partners LP. Any reference to a particular company is for illustrative purposes only and should not to be considered as investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell nor should it be considered as an indication of how the portfolio of any investment fund managed by Ninepoint Partners LP is or will be invested. Ninepoint Partners LP and/ or its affiliates may collectively beneficially own/control 1% or more of any class of the equity securities of the issuers mentioned in this report. Ninepoint Partners LP and/or its affiliates may hold short position in any class of the equity securities of the issuers mentioned in this report. During the preceding 12 months, Ninepoint Partners LP and/or its affiliates may have received remuneration other than normal course investment advisory or trade execution services from the issuers mentioned in this report.

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