Fund Profile

JPMorgan US Smaller Companies 24 May 2019


Disclosure – Non-Independent Marketing Communication

This is a non-independent marketing communication commissioned by JPMorgan US Smaller Companies. The report has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on the dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

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JPMorgan US Smaller Companies Investment Trust (JUSC) aims to provide investors with capital growth through a portfolio of US smaller companies.

Don San Jose is the lead manager of the trust, supported by portfolio managers Dan Percella and John Brachle. Together, the team use bottom-up investment analysis to identify high quality companies that demonstrate balance sheet strength and solid cashflows. Through constantly assessing the underlying company’s ‘pathway’ for earnings into the future, and the impact of the wider market, the trust is able to maintain low levels of beta, despite boasting high levels of alpha. With this said, buying companies at fair valuations is important for the team and they are not willing to overlook the price they are paying for exposure to a high growth opportunity.

Currently the portfolio is comprised of 86 companies, and there is a clear tilt towards the larger end of their universe. The weighted average market cap of a company in the portfolio is $3.88bn, 50% greater than the average for the Russell 2000 index. The largest sector overweights come from producer durables, materials and processing and consumer staples sectors. With large exposures to these sectors, one might anticipate that the portfolio has a cyclical tilt, yet the managers demonstrate that the portfolio is far more defensive than one might anticipate.

The trust has an exceptional track record relative to both peers and the benchmark Russell 2000 Index. Over the past five years, the trust has delivered NAV returns of close to 120%, considerably more than the Russell 2000 (92.8%), the IA peer group (97.6%) and the AIC peer group (86.7%). Over this period the manager has achieved an alpha of 3.41, considerably greater than the closest rival Jupiter US Smaller Companies (0.75). As with most equity vehicles, the past year has seen some ups and downs in the volatile environment. Since the start of the year, the trust has outperformed the benchmark by 2.1%, delivering 16.4% NAV returns.

Currently the trust is trading at a discount of close to 3%, slightly wider than it’s one-year average of -1.5%, but it has traded at a premium on numerous occasions. Should the trust’s discount widen out much more it could offer investors a good opportunity to access one of the strongest performing North American trusts.

Kepler View

JUSC offers investors an excellent way to gain exposure to high quality, growth companies, through a low beta portfolio of high quality companies. Over the long term the trust has been an exceptional performer, eclipsing its main competitor – Jupiter US Smaller Companies - and very few managers can boast the levels of alpha this trust can. In our view, the high-quality approach offers a certain amount of reassurance to investors at this moment in time, when the outlook for global growth is uncertain.

Currently the trust is trading at a discount of close to 3%, slightly wider than it’s one-year average of -1.5%, but it has traded at a premium on numerous occasions. Should the trust’s discount widen out much more it could offer investors a good opportunity to access one of the strongest performing North American trusts.

Excellent track record of alpha generation
The US market is in the latter stages of the cycle
Trading at rare discount
Little to no income for investors
High quality and valuation led investment approach could be beneficial in an uncertain economic environment

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Fund History

28 Mar 2024 Fund Analysis
JUSC: diversification and valuation opportunity in US smaller companies…
06 Sep 2023 You should be dancing…
North America should be a core part of any portfolio…
19 Apr 2023 Fund Analysis
JUSC offers all-weather exposure to a dynamic market…
11 Jan 2023 Solving the Rubik’s Cube
We reveal the winners of our investment trust ratings for 2023…
07 Sep 2022 American muscle
Beating US indices is a monumental task. We examine the closed- and open-ended North American sectors to see how they have fared…
31 May 2022 Fund Analysis
JUSC’s quality bias has driven its recent outperformance, although it still trades on a historically wide discount…
17 Nov 2021 How Do You Like Them Apples
Judging whether the US market is expensive is not as easy as many make it out to be…
22 Sep 2021 Fund Analysis
While the economic outlook may be good for JUSC’s quality bias, its current discount offers an attractive entry point…
15 Sep 2021 Bargains galore
We review our discounted opportunities portfolio, with one constituent rallying more than 30% in just two months…
22 Apr 2021 FAANGs for the memories
The massive outperformance of mega-cap tech last year could become a thing of the past if anti-trust legislation and negative sentiment starts to bite...
31 Mar 2021 East End boys and West End girls
Our analysts debate whether the US or Asian stock markets will deliver the best returns over the next decade…
03 Mar 2021 Fund Analysis
JUSC offers investors a portfolio of high-quality US small caps, and has a strong record of performance and alpha generation…
19 Nov 2020 Hope springs eternal
The US election has given long-suffering value investors new hope of a 'great rotation' in their favour, but that light at the end of the tunnel could in fact be a train…
11 Aug 2020 Fund Analysis
Trading at an attractive discount relative to its history, JUSC offers a diversified portfolio of high-quality companies…
13 May 2020 Sea change
While global giants like Amazon still hold the weather gauge, we examine the long term prospects for a shift in the prevailing wind...
30 Jan 2020 Fund Analysis
One of the strongest performers in its North American sectors, JUSC, offers exposure to high-quality companies with strong management teams…
28 Aug 2019 Quality street: can the dominant style continue to outperform?
For several years, quality as an investing style has dominated, outperforming both value and growth. We examine why the case for quality remains strong and the importance of taking an active approach…
24 May 2019 Fund Analysis
A trust that offers investors an excellent way to gain exposure to high quality, growth companies, through a low beta portfolio...
30 Jan 2019 The Growth Portfolio
Our ten investment trust picks for long-term capital growth...
12 Sep 2018 High flyers
Our research shows small-cap managers adding consistently more alpha, and regulatory change means this could be an attractive time to invest in the sector...
12 Sep 2018 Fund Analysis
This trust has a highly-resourced management team, which has produced consistently strong alpha, outperforming the Russell 2000 index in each of the past five calendar years...
26 Apr 2018 The $23.9 trillion dollar question*
Are US equities, which have hit record highs on 71 occasions in the last 12 months, overpriced or are they actually trading at a price worth paying?
31 Jan 2018 Fund Analysis
A stockpicking portfolio which has delivered outstanding alpha over the long term, now trading at a discount...
25 Jun 2017 American dream
Despite being one of the best performing open or closed ended US funds over one, three, and five years, JPM US Smaller Companies still trades on a discount of 8%...
22 Feb 2017 Fund Analysis
21 Feb 2017 Don't wanna be an American idiot
We highlight various routes to US exposure for those who are not sure how much faith they place in the 'Trump Bump'...
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