THE £1.3 billion Murray International Trust has declared a 9.5% hike in its dividend, after beating its benchmark in 2012.

Aberdeen Asset Management's Bruce Stout, who runs the international equities investment trust, yesterday voiced his opinion that sovereign bonds in the developed world "appear ludicrously expensive relative to cripplingly negative fundamentals".

Mr Stout said: "A lethal cocktail of unparalleled levels of global debt and unparalleled global money printing, shaken and stirred by numerous financial indicators at multi-century highs/lows, suggests a global fixed-income hangover is fast approaching."

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He added that Murray International's gross assets would "remain predominately exposed to equities, with continued emphasis on high quality companies".

Murray International announced a total return on net asset value of 14% for 2012. The total return on its benchmark, a 40%-60% composite of the FTSE World UK and FTSE World-ex-UK indices, was 11.4% .

The trust proposes a final payout of 13.5p a share, taking the total dividend for the year to 40.5p, up 9.5% on 2011. Its largest holding at December 31 was British American Tobacco, which had a valuation of £57.6 mil-lion at that date and accounted for 4.3% of total assets. Its second-largest stake was a £52.5m holding in Aeroportuario del Sureste, which operates Mexican airports.