Heavy losses on the last day of June sent the FTSE 100 to its widest monthly loss since September 2015, also sealing its first negative quarter in more than a year as a tumultuous first half drew to a close.
Overall, the FTSE 100 returned 0.7% in Q2, if you include its average quarterly dividend of around 0.9%, and while our fictional PIN Fund returned around 3% in the second quarter, (including dividends), the combination of higher global commodities prices and the weaker pound has been putting some heavy pressure on UK housebuilders.
Of course, a surprise snap election and a hung parliament has not helped share prices in general but, were it not for two poor performers in our Fund - Taylor Wimpey and Carillion – total returns would have been twice as high (6% in Q2).
Taylor Wimpey was the only housebuilder, from the five listed in our Fund, to see its share price fall in Q2. However, until the end of May the shares were performing very well, at a 12-month high of 204p, but in June its share price crashed by almost 14% to 176.2p. In fact, June was the first month that UK housebuilding shares fell on average since November 2016.
So is Taylor Wimpey simply leading the way for the other housebuilders to follow downwards (as it did back in 2007), or are concerns of a major slowdown in the construction sector overblown? For now at least, I am inclined to lean towards the latter. The company is now trading at a price/earnings (P/E) ratio of less than 10, compared to over 15 for the FTSE 100. Also, in mid-July it will pay a dividend of around 5.3%, which will go some way to cushioning the blow from its falling share price.