MID-YEAR INVESTOR UPDATE:
Resiliency amidst signs of moderation.
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As we approach the middle of the year, we thought it would be appropriate to provide an update of what we are seeing, hearing, and thinking regarding the economy and your portfolios.
Following the close of Q1, our in-house investment research team has been busy parsing through 100+ earnings calls and transcripts from the companies they follow. No doubt, we did hear signs of moderation, particularly towards the end of the quarter. This moderation is being felt across a wide range of industries including industrial distribution, technology hardware, healthcare analytical equipment, and consumer facing businesses—particularly those impacted by higher interest rates like used autos and homebuilding supplies. In some cases, moderation means that businesses in these industries will grow at a slower rate, while in other cases certain businesses may see a decline compared to the high levels of activity achieved in 2021 and 2022.
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Marc Roberts, CFA®
Portfolio Manager, FAM Value Fund
Encouragingly, despite signs of moderation, we heard an equal amount about resiliency. Consumer spending and the labor market has remained robust, despite the pace of interest rate increases aimed at combating higher levels of inflation. Resiliency was felt across several industries including insurance brokerage, health care procedures, travel, and general industrial. For some businesses, positive results are being driven by continued solid demand, while others are benefiting more from latent pricing power. Our focus on investing in businesses that possess differentiated attributes has helped with navigating this dynamic environment and we’ve been pleased with our companies ability to get the appropriate value for the products and services they provide.
Resiliency has not only been present in the economy, but in the stock market as well. Despite news headlines and concerns at the macroeconomic level, the broader market has achieved gains year to date.
We continue to monitor the ongoing developments in the banking and commercial real estate industries (read our latest banking update). Tightening credit standards and greater risk aversion may have been a culprit behind the moderation that corporate America began feeling late in the quarter and could serve to further moderate activity going forward.
At Fenimore, we know that we can’t predict potential macro eventuality. However, we continue to have high conviction in our ability to mitigate risk, and our approach to selecting quality, resilient businesses. We remain confident that over the long-term, our businesses and the leadership teams behind them can drive long-term value creation, that is expected to benefit our collective portfolios.
If you have any questions about your investments, you can call 800-721-5391, email us at email@example.com, or stop by either our Albany or Cobleskill location.
Thank you for your ongoing trust and we hope you have a safe and enjoyable summer.