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AAA-rated Wright banks on Barclays despite shares continued decline

by Sarah Miloudi on Jul 31, 2013 at 13:04

AAA-rated Wright banks on Barclays despite shares continued decline

Fidelity's Citywire AAA-rated small cap star Alex Wright says Barclays still has potential for upside, despite its H1 profit coming down year-on-year and its £5.8 billion rights issue.

Wright, who runs the Fidelity Special Values investment trust and the Fidelity UK Smaller Companies fund, says the bank has already accounted for the continued stream of payment protection insurance (PPI) claims, while its rights issue, intended to plug a £12.8 billion capital hole, was reflected in earlier dips in Barclays' share price.

Following its H1 results, Barclays shares fell  5.7% and have continued to drop today. At 13.00 they were trading at 287.6p, a fall of 1.2% on the opening price.

Wright (pictured) said the shares' continued decline means an investment in Barclays looks compelling.

He said: 'The upside for Barclays is still significant, with strong franchises in investment banking, UK retail and a leading African banking business, and with the downside now more quantifiable as a result of this rights issue, I am comfortable holding more of the company’s shares.

Wright added: 'This fundraising, combined with the very cautious provision for PPI claims, creates a strong basis for Barclays to make progress, both operationally, and in its relationship with the regulator.'

Wright inherited a position in Barclays after taking over the Special Values Investment Trust from Sanjeev Shah last July.  At the end of June he held 2.2% of his assets in the bank's shares.

Although the bank has endured its difficulties, this has not held Wright back. He has grown his £474 million trust's net asset value (NAV) per share by 56.76% over the three years to April, versus a rise of 32.3% by the FTSE All-Share Index.

Compared to the typical UK smaller companies manager Wright has also outperformed.  According to Citywire data he has delivered total returns of 125.5% over three years, compared to his average peer's 63.7% total return.

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