Interactive Investor

ii expert tips: a fund, a trust and bonds to buy in 2024

Three of ii’s experts - collectives editor Kyle Caldwell, deputy editor Sam Benstead and head of funds research Dzmitry Lipski - have picked the investments they think will do well in the year ahead.

4th January 2024 10:42

by the interactive investor team from interactive investor

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Three investment ideas 600

Kyle Caldwell

My investment trust tip for 2024

First, I’ve got to address the elephant in the room. For the last two years I’ve picked Fidelity China Special Situations (LSE:FCSS), so I’ve now got egg on my face. I still like the trust and, while there are of course no guarantees, I think over the long term the rewards should outweigh the risks, provided you’re investing for at least five years, or ideally 10 years.

I am not going to double down again like I did last year. Instead, the area of the stock market I think is really interesting in terms of its valuations having been out of form for two years, is UK mid-cap and UK small-cap. Interest rate rises, which started at the end of 2021, caused many investors to dial down on risk as returns rose on safer assets such as cash and government bonds. In such an environment, smaller company shares naturally suffer.

In addition, smaller company shares tend to be more economically sensitive, which has proved to be a headwind, given that economic growth has been sluggish, and consumers have been tightening their belts in response to the cost-of-living crisis.

While headwinds remain – not least the prospect of a recession occurring in 2024 – I think now is the time to consider bagging a bargain among a UK smaller company specialist investment trust. At some point the market will turn for smaller companies, and it will turn fast, so I would sooner get in early rather than wait for the market to show signs of a recovery and miss out on some of that recovery.

There are lots of options for investors to consider, but one that I like is Henderson Smaller Companies (LSE:HSL). The trust is managed by Neil Hermon, who has been at its helm since 2002. The investment approach is focused on identifying quality growth companies and holding them over the long term.

At the time of this recording in early December it is on a discount of over 10%, which offers investors the chance to buy a diversified portfolio of cheap UK smaller companies at an even cheaper price.

Dzmitry Lipski

The fund Im tracking in 2024

For 2024, investors should consider the Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF Acc (LSE:SPEQ).

This exchange-traded fund provides equally weighted exposure to US blue-chip stocks that make up the S&P 500 index.

Every stock in the index has the same weight at just 0.2%, regardless of how large or small the company is. Therefore, even Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) will have the same weight as the smallest company that is a constituent in the S&P 500.

The fund is designed to reflect the US large-cap equity market while taking a size-neutral approach and covers approximately 80% of the available market. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is competitively priced, with an ongoing charge of only 0.20%.

The fund’s equal weight approach offers greater exposure to smaller stocks and stocks with lower valuations, providing a better diversified approach to investing in US stocks which could lead to potentially higher returns.

But bear in mind that the fund may go through periods of relative underperformance in momentum-driven markets, when large-caps outperform small- and mid-caps, and growth outperforms value.

Currently, the S&P 500 is dominated by the so-called Magnificent Seven largest technology companies that make up almost 30% of the index. In 2023, they contributed to over 80% of the performance. If you're invested in funds that track the S&P 500, your portfolio may be too concentrated and greatly impacted by fluctuations in tech stocks. 

By enhancing diversification and reducing concentration at the stock and sector level, theInvesco S&P 500® Equal Weight ETF offers unique core exposure to US blue-chip stocks in the S&P 500 and could be a good alternative to high-fee active funds that usually struggling to outperform.

Sam Benstead

My bond market tips for 2024

There are three reasons I think that bonds will make a great investment in 2024. 

First, inflation is falling, which will allow the Bank of England to cut interest rates. Lower rates are good news for bond prices, as the value of existing higher-yielding debt increases when interest rates fall, and new bonds offer lower yields. The Bank of England expects inflation to keep dropping throughout 2024 and hit its 2% target by the end of 2025. 

Second, bonds now offer an attractive income. With yield to maturities on gilts at around 4%, and corporate bonds yields at about 6%, you are finally getting paid well to hold bonds. Given that UK equities have returned about 6% a year for 100 years, earning that as income from bonds is impressive. 

Finally, bonds should bolster the resilience of a portfolio. Now that inflation is falling, central banks have more scope to cut interest rates if the economy is in trouble. So during a period when stocks might be struggling, bonds could rally, giving a portfolio more balance. 

In terms of what bond funds to buy, I’d highlight Vanguard UK Government Bond Index for broad exposure to gilts, and Rathbone Ethical Bond for a diversified, actively managed portfolio of sterling corporate bonds.

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.


We use a combination of fundamental and technical analysis in forming our view as to the valuation and prospects of an investment. Where relevant we have set out those particular matters we think are important in the above article, but further detail can be found here.

Please note that our article on this investment should not be considered to be a regular publication.

Details of all recommendations issued by ii during the previous 12-month period can be found here.

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