It has been a tricky environment for UK equity income investors in 2017 so far, with a number of stock and sector-specific issues. For example, companies such as AstraZeneca and Provident Financial suffered significant share price falls, whilst the shock announcement from the US Food & Drug Administration on future tobacco regulation had a big impact on the sector.
Retail sales growth has cooled over the last month, with the year-on-year (YoY) increase falling from 4.1% to 2.6% in March. With prospects for higher inflation coming through in 2017, much newsflow is centred around the prospect for weaker overall spending this year and the impact this will have on various industries and business segments. How do we maintain exposure to the domestic economy, whilst still protecting the portfolio from downside risk?