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BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

New experienced lead managers

Review | Investment trusts | 05 Mar 2019

BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) has two experienced new co-managers, Ed Kuczma and Sam Vecht, who are part of BlackRock's well-resourced global emerging markets equities team and were appointed to manage BRLA in December 2018, following the resignation of former lead manager Will Landers. Kuczma had worked closely with Landers for a number of years and says the transition should be smooth. The managers are constructive on the outlook for Latin American equities in 2019, following a series of headwinds in 2018, citing improving economies, attractive valuations and a more benign political environment. BRLA's board adopted a new, higher dividend policy in FY18. The trust yields 4.0% based on three interim payments during the last financial year; the total distribution should rise in FY19 based on four quarterly dividend payments.

BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

New dividend and discount management policies

Review | Investment trusts | 17 Jul 2018

BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) is managed by Will Landers, who says that investor attitudes towards Latin American equities have changed. 2017 was a period of confidence in the region’s prospects, but now there is more scepticism about the growth outlook. However, the manager remains optimistic about potential returns from Latin American equities. In the key Brazilian economy, he cites higher domestic demand and a favourable interest rate environment, with the benchmark interest rate having more than halved to a record low level. BRLA has recently announced new dividend and discount management policies, which may lead to a narrowing in its discount over time. Dividends will now be paid four times a year, equivalent to 1.25% of the dollar-based, quarter-end NAV. As a result, the trust now offers an attractive prospective yield.

BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

Optimistic outlook for Latin American equities

Review | Investment trusts | 15 Feb 2018

BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) is managed by Will Landers, who has 26 years of experience at BlackRock. He is optimistic on the outlook for Latin American equities in 2018, due to relatively attractive company valuations and improving economies in the region, especially in Brazil, where he describes the recovery as “slow and sure”. He says that in 2017, emerging market equity performance was led by Asian companies and there is potential for Latin American companies to catch up if investors have confidence in the improving economic outlook. After a recent improvement in investment performance, BRLA’s NAV total return is now outperforming the benchmark over one, three and five years.

BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

Economic progress in Brazil

Review | Investment trusts | 31 Jul 2017

BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) is a well-established fund offering exposure to Latin America via a diversified equity portfolio. Manager William Landers aims to generate an attractive total return from a portfolio of 50-75 holdings invested across the capitalisation spectrum. He notes that despite negative political headlines in Brazil (the largest economy in the region), there is economic progress helped by falling interest rates and an inflation rate that is lower than the Central Bank of Brazil’s target. Landers is positive on Brazil’s political agenda and believes that the recent passing of the labour reform bill suggests that there is a broad appetite for reform, less conditional on President Temer than may have been thought. The manager is positive on the outlook for Latin American equities, while acknowledging that there will be “bumps along the way”. BRLA’s current dividend yield is 2.7%.

BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

The beginning of a sustained bull market?

Review | Investment trusts | 16 Jan 2017

BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) is a long-established fund investing in Latin American equities. Manager Will Landers runs a 50-75 stock portfolio with daily input from a dedicated Latin America team. BRLA aims to generate an attractive total return, superior to that of its benchmark, the MSCI Emerging Markets Latin America Index. The fund is overweight Brazil, which surged when impeachment proceedings were brought against former president Dilma Rousseff, and underweight Mexico, where sentiment soured following the surprise Trump victory.

BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

Brighter outlook for LatAm's largest economy

Review | Investment trusts | 27 May 2016

BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) is a long-established, actively managed fund investing in Latin American equities. Manager William Landers runs a 50-75 stock portfolio that is diversified by country, sector and market capitalisation. BRLA aims to generate an attractive capital and total return, outperforming its benchmark, the MSCI Emerging Markets Latin American Index. Brazil represents more than half of the benchmark weighting and the manager has moved to an overweight exposure to the country following recent political developments. In anticipation of political and market reforms, his outlook for the region is more favourable than it has been for some time.

BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

Navigating difficult markets

Update | Investment trusts | 03 Nov 2015

The BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) provides investors with managed exposure to equities in the region, with the main country weightings being Brazil and Mexico (c 87% together). Over the last year, concerns over weakening global growth and US monetary policy have affected Latin American currencies and equities. The manager is cautious on Brazil but sees better near-term economic prospects for Mexico and Peru, where the portfolio holds overweight positions. With much of the bad news potentially built into market prices, sentiment could rapidly turn and in the meantime, holders of BRLA benefit from a 6.7% yield.

BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

Long-established, diversified regional specialist

Review | Investment trusts | 26 Mar 2015

The BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) invests in Latin American equities, aiming to provide attractive total returns over time from a diversified portfolio of stocks, with a bias towards Brazil and Mexico (together c 85%). After a rough ride for the Brazilian market the trust is positioned cautiously versus the index, preferring the better near-term economic prospects of Mexico and Peru. However, with a number of large, liquid companies in the region, the manager is able to rebalance the portfolio swiftly should Brazil begin to turn a corner. Option-writing income enhances the yield, currently 5.3%, and the shares have recently traded at their widest discount in five years, suggesting the potential to re-rate.

BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

Recovery potential despite commodity slowdown

Review | Investment trusts | 21 Aug 2014

The BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) is a regional specialist offering diversified exposure to companies in Central and South America, with a significant weighting to Brazil and Mexico (c 90%). Although a stock-picking fund with a focus on valuation, BRLA's manager acknowledges the importance of macroeconomic factors: the Brazilian election is a key swing factor in the near term, and the resource-rich region also faces an adjustment as slower growth in China dents demand for commodities. The trust currently yields an attractive 3.8%, boosted by writing covered call options on some holdings. LatAm markets have re-rated since the start of 2014 and BRLA's wider-than-average discount may present an attractive entry point for those who feel this will continue.

BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

Low expectations may herald an opportunity

Review | Investment trusts | 18 Feb 2014

The BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) offers investors a managed exposure to equities across the region, with its principal country weightings being in Brazil and Mexico (together 90%). The main Latin American markets have lagged the developed and world markets over the last 12 months as economic growth disappointed and fund outflows affected emerging markets. In the largest market, Brazil, the manager believes the market already discounts a conservative outlook, so the risks may now be tilted on the upside.

BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

Be greedy when others are fearful

Review | Investment trusts | 29 Jul 2013

The BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) offers investors a managed exposure to equities across the region with its main country weightings being in Brazil, Mexico and Chile, which together account for 84% of assets. The market has become noticeably more cautious on Latin America and other emerging markets as reflected in recent weakness in the trust's benchmark and the widening of BRLA's discount. Now may be a time for investors to consider Warren Buffett's advice to be greedy when others are fearful.