By Ian McConnell

THE £1.535 billion Murray International Trust flagged the strength of the US stock market and particularly technology and healthcare stocks as global equities rebounded, as it reported it had underperformed amid the volatility.

The investment trust, managed by Aberdeen Standard Investments, posted a negative total return on net asset value of 10.7 per cent for the six months to June. There was a negative return of 4.7% on its chosen reference index for global equities.

Chairman Kevin Carter said the board “intends in 2020 at least to match the dividend payout of 53.5p per share in 2019”, noting it was “expected this will entail some use of the significant revenue reserves built up over prior years for occasions such as the current crisis”. Revenue reserves were £69.6 million at June 30.

He said: “During the first six months of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has spread across the world with the tragic loss of over half a million lives. Emergency responses to the health crisis have caused dramatic changes to the global economic and political backdrop, with widespread recession and unprecedented government intervention.”

Mr Carter noted “enormous monetary and fiscal support” in most major economies.

He said: “The path of financial markets over the period was always likely to be highly volatile, and so it has proven. Panic and fear prevailed in the three months to the end of March, while renewed hope and expectation powered a robust recovery from April to the end of June. This recovery period has been characterised by significant outperformance by the US stock market in particular the technology and healthcare sectors, and by a pronounced narrowing of the overall market to a small number of large outperforming stocks.”

Mr Carter added: “The company’s broad, diversified exposure curtailed total-return depreciation to some extent but performance was unable to match returns arising from these trends.”