Johannesburg - Sasol [JSE:SOL] is by far the most popular counter among the 67 unit trusts classified as general equity funds.
In all, 54 general equity funds hold Sasol shares among their 10 largest investments.
If one looks at all the unit trusts in the different categories, R5.5bn worth of shares is held in Sasol.
After Sasol, MTN Group [JSE:MTN] is the most popular among general equity funds (48 in their top 10, and a total investment of R5.4bn), followed by BHP Billiton [JSE:BIL] (45 in their top 10 and a total investment of R5.7bn).
Two banking shares number among the top 10 investments held by general equity funds – Standard Bank Group [JSE:SBK] and FirstRand [JSE:FSR].
In all, 41 general equity funds hold Standard Bank among the top 10, and 22 hold FirstRand.
As rand hedges, SABMiller [JSE:SAB] and British American Tobacco [JSE:BTI] (BAT) are popular with portfolio managers.
Anglo American [JSE:AGL] is the fourth most popular share among general equity funds, 35 being invested in it.
The final two places on the list of the 10 most popular shares among general equity funds are occupied by Richemont Securities [JSE:RCH] (15) and Old Mutual [JSE:OML] (14).
Naspers [JSE:NPN] is as popular as SABMiller, with 23 unit trusts heavily invested in it.
From a further analysis of the most popular shares among general equity funds it appears that most portfolios hold between four and six of the most popular 10 shares.
And then there are the outliers.
Only one unit trust, the Sasfin TwentyTen, has exposure to only one of the 10 most popular shares (Naspers).
In contrast, four hold nine of the most popular shares, nine hold eight and 11 are invested in seven of the most popular.
Three unit trusts hold only two, and a couple hold three or four.
The Coronation Equity fund holds eight of the most popular shares and the major part of its portfolio is in MTN, which occupies slightly more than 10% of its portfolio.
Quinton Ivan, who co-manages this fund, says MTN has for the past two years been a poor performer in a portfolio.
The situation could however change now that MTN has announced that it will be growing organically and the uncertainty about an upcoming takeover is out of the market.
Ivan says MTN is a defensive share, operating in a market and in countries that still have great opportunities for growth.
Metropolitan portfolio manager Ian Troost says Sasol has long been an underperformer, partly because of concern about its management. Negative sentiment towards Sasol has been, he reckons, overdone and this is reflected in the share price.
Sasol’s great attraction is that its share price will in the long run benefit from a rising oil price and the expected weakening of the rand.
The biggest investment by Allan Gray’s general funds is in BAT and SABMiller (just more than 10% of its portfolio in each), followed by Sasol. Its only other exposure among the top 10 is to MTN.
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