In May 2020, BBH Select Series – Large Cap Fund (“BBH Select” or “the Fund”) rose by 6.70%, which compared to a gain of 4.76% for the S&P 500 Index. Our top performer in the month was Alcon and our largest detractor was Berkshire Hathaway. We also initiated an investment in Progressive Corp. (“Progressive”).
Alcon delivered solid 1Q20 results, reflecting better-than-expected resiliency to COVID-19 headwinds. Both the surgical and the vision care business segments continued to gain share in their respective markets, benefiting from new product innovation and strong operational execution. Despite current expectations for revenue declines in 2Q20, the critical nature of eye care should help sustain demand and drive recovery. Management has taken actions in response to COVID-19 that we believe will help preserve the company’s ability to keep investing in research and development (R&D) and manufacturing expansion, both of which are key long-term business drivers.
Berkshire Hathaway reported 1Q20 results in May. Operating earnings grew by 6% year-over-year and reflected strong performances from the company’s three major units: insurance, BNSF, and BH Energy, which collectively represent over 60% of earnings. Berkshire’s insurance operations – the largest source of earnings – should be reasonably well insulated from the COVID pandemic based on the composition of exposures and the strength of its capital base. GEICO, which accounts for most of the company’s underwriting profit, will benefit from a precipitous drop in vehicle miles driven as lower loss costs will drive higher underwriting income. Berkshire remains very well capitalized and has a valuation that implies low expectations, in our view.
Progressive is a premier auto insurance provider with a standout track record of growth, underwriting margins, returns on equity, and service innovation. After decades of persistent market share gains, Progressive now stands as the third largest auto insurer (84% of company premiums) and the largest commercial auto insurer (12% of company premiums) in the U.S., with a small but rapidly growing homeowners’ line (4% of company premiums). We view Progressive as an industry leader with strong financial performance that reflects excellent management and a broad and self-reinforcing suite of competitive advantages including efficiency, underwriting expertise, distribution, scale, and brand appeal. As the auto insurance industry consolidates, these advantages should allow Progressive to continue gaining significant market share and strengthening its position.
Holdings are subject to change. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
Price/Earnings (P/E) ratio is a company’s current share price divided by earnings per-share.
Turnover ratio is the rate of trading in a portfolio; higher values imply more frequent trading.
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Purchase and sale information provided should not be considered as a recommendation to purchase or sell a particular security and that there is no assurance, as of the date of publication, that the securities purchased remain in a fund's portfolio or that securities sold have not been repurchased.
Investors in the Fund should be able to withstand short-term fluctuations in the equity markets and fixed income markets in return for potentially higher returns over the long term. The value of portfolios change every day and can be affected by changes in interest rates, general market conditions and other political, social and economic developments.
The Fund is ‘non-diversified’ and may assume large positions in a small number of issuers which can increase the potential for greater price fluctuation.
International investing involves special risks including currency risk, increased volatility, political risks, and differences in auditing and other financial standards.
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Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. ("BBH"), a New York limited partnership, was founded in 1818 and provides investment advice to registered mutual funds through a separately identifiable department (the "SID"). The SID is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. BBH acts as the Fund Administrator and is located at 140 Broadway, New York, NY 10005.
Not FDIC Insured No Bank Guarantee May Lose Money
IM-08026-2020-06-10 BBH002976 Exp. Date 07/31/2020