Warning: members of the public are being contacted by people claiming to work for AXA Investment Managers UK Limited.  Find out more information and what to do by clicking here.

Global Thematics strategy - November 2021

  • 21 December 2021 (5 min read)

Concerns over Omicron variant overshadow improving economic backdrop

  • Global equity markets finished lower in November
  • Doubts about the efficacy of existing vaccines raises fears of further shutdowns
  • Holdings in the ‘Automation’ theme helped to offset weaker performance

What’s happening?

Global equity markets finished lower in November after the emergence of a new coronavirus variant (Omicron) and more hawkish commentary from the US Federal Reserve weighed on sentiment towards the end of the month.

The Omicron variant was initially discovered in South Africa but has since been detected in several other countries around the world and doubts about the efficacy of existing vaccines has raised fears of another flare up in cases and further shutdowns. Initial evidence suggests that Omicron may be more contagious but less deadly than previous strains although this has yet to be confirmed.

In the US, the consumer price index reached its highest level in over 30 years in October and the labour market continued to improve. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who was reappointed for a four year term during the month, spoke about the potential to accelerate the tapering of its asset purchases and notably dropped the use of the word “transitory” when describing inflation.

Economic data in Europe was mixed in November as a rebound in the purchasing managers’ index was offset by falling consumer sentiment. Rising covid hospitalisations, coupled with concerns over the Omicron variant, has led several countries to introduce new restrictions.

China posted robust export growth for October, driven by strong demand from Europe, along with better than expected retail sales and industrial production. However, equities fell on concerns over the potential impact of its “zero-covid” policy on economic activity.

Portfolio positioning and performance

The strategy underperformed the broader equity index (MSCI All Country World) in November. Our holdings in the ‘Ageing & Lifestyle’ and ‘Connected Consumer’ themes hurt most while ‘Automation’ made a positive contribution.

‘Ageing & Lifestyle’ was the worst performing theme led by our position in virtual healthcare services company Teladoc. The company provided solid revenue guidance for 2022 but membership growth and earnings were lower than expectations. Teladoc remains well positioned to benefit from the rising adoption of virtual care given its comprehensive whole-health model and integrated suite of virtual solutions.

In ‘Connected Consumer’, digital payments company PayPal weighed most on performance after the company reported disappointing results for the quarter and reduced its outlook for 2022. The stock has been under pressure over recent months on concerns over competition and its acquisition strategy but it remains well positioned in the digital payments space and valuations look more attractive here. Elsewhere, shares in digital solutions company Globant pulled back despite reporting another set of good results after having run up strongly over recent months.

On the positive side, our position in wireless technology company Qualcomm added meaningfully in ‘Automation’. The company issued revenue and earnings targets well ahead of expectations at its recent investor day citing strong momentum outside of its traditional smartphone basebands in areas such as autos, consumer and industrial internet of things and PCs, all of which notably increase its addressable market.

Trade activity was limited during the month and strategy positioning is broadly unchanged.


Macroeconomic conditions remain supportive with economic indicators in expansive territory, broadly accommodative monetary policy, and good progress in vaccination campaigns. The recent discovery of the Omicron variant is cause for concern but the world is better prepared than before with higher vaccination coverage and improved treatment options. Meanwhile, the trends underpinning the Global Thematics continue to strengthen.

Solid industrial activity and strong order books for industrial robotics companies highlight the positive outlook for Automation while ongoing supply chain disruptions only strengthen the case for automated solutions. Connected Consumer companies have benefitted from an acceleration in the adoption of digital technologies since the pandemic and we expect this to continue as the economy forges ahead with its digital transformation. Further commitments from nations globally to dramatically lower emissions, combined with the recent volatility in energy prices, underlines the need for clean energy, storage and energy efficiency solutions which provides a strong tailwind for Cleantech companies.

From a demographic standpoint, the ageing global population continues to create opportunities for Ageing & Lifestyle companies which are positioned to benefit from long term changes in consumption patterns. The regulatory clampdown has weighed on sentiment in China but trends which include increasing wealth and financial inclusion, urbanisation and access to healthcare provide a positive backdrop for Transitioning Societies more broadly.

We retain the view that high quality management teams, operating businesses with a sustainable competitive advantage in their markets and with the benefit of secular tailwinds are well placed to navigate the global thematics. The strategy is therefore well positioned to benefit from the secular shifts we are witnessing globally.

No assurance can be given that the Global Thematics Strategy will be successful. Investors can lose some or all of their capital invested. The Global Thematics strategy is subject to risks including Equity; Emerging markets; Currency; Global investments; Investments in small and/or micro capitalisation universe; ESG.

Read the full article
Download report (233.29 KB)

Have our latest insights delivered straight to your inbox

Subscribe to updates.

Related Articles


Global Thematics strategy - February 2023

  • by David Shaw, Mark Hargraves
  • 21 February 2023 (5 min read)

Global Thematics strategy - January 2023

  • by David Shaw, Mark Hargraves
  • 15 February 2023 (5 min read)

Global Thematics strategy - July 2022

  • by Amanda O’Toole
  • 19 August 2022 (5 min read)


    Not for Retail distribution: This document is intended exclusively for Professional, Institutional, Qualified or Wholesale Clients / Investors only, as defined by applicable local laws and regulation. Circulation must be restricted accordingly.

    Past performance is not a guide to current or future performance, and any performance or return data displayed does not take into account commissions and costs incurred when issuing or redeeming units. The value of investments, and the income from them, can fall as well as rise and investors may not get back the amount originally invested. Exchange-rate fluctuations may also affect the value of their investment.  Due to this and the initial charge that is usually made, an investment is not usually suitable as a short term holding.

    This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or financial analysis relating to transactions in financial instruments as per MIF Directive (2014/65/EU), nor does it constitute on the part of AXA Investment Managers or its affiliated companies an offer to buy or sell any investments, products or services, and should not be considered as solicitation or investment, legal or tax advice, a recommendation for an investment strategy or a personalized recommendation to buy or sell securities. The strategies discussed in this document may not be available in your jurisdiction.

    Due to its simplification, this document is partial and opinions, estimates and forecasts herein are subjective and subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee forecasts made will come to pass. Data, figures, declarations, analysis, predictions and other information in this document is provided based on our state of knowledge at the time of creation of this document. Whilst every care is taken, no representation or warranty (including liability towards third parties), express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained herein. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the recipient. This material does not contain sufficient information to support an investment decision.

    Please note that the management company reserves the right, at any time, to no longer market the product(s) mentioned in this communication in an European Union country by notification to its authority of supervision in accordance with European passport rules. In the event of dissatisfaction with the products or services, you have the right to make a complaint either with the marketer or directly with the management company (more information on our complaints policy available in English here). You also have the right to take legal or extra-judicial action at any time if you reside in one of the countries of the European Union. The European online dispute resolution platform allows you to enter a complaint form (by clicking here) and informs you, depending on your jurisdiction, about your means of redress (by clicking here).

    Issued in the U.K. by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. Registered in England and Wales, No: 01431068. Registered Office: 22 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4BQ. In other jurisdictions, this document is issued by AXA Investment Managers SA’s affiliates in those countries.

    Risk Warning

    The value of investments, and the income from them, can fall as well as rise and investors may not get back the amount originally invested. 

    Are you an IFA or other Professional Investor ?

    Are you a financial advisor, institutional, or other professional investor?

    This section is for professional investors only. You need to confirm that you have the required investment knowledge and experience to view this content. This includes understanding the risks associated with investment products, and any other required qualifications according to the rules of your jurisdiction.