Arguably the biggest disappointment in recent months in the Bearbull Income Portfolio has been the price performance of steelmakers’ supplier Vesuvius (VSVS). At 347p, its share price is now 42 per cent below the 12-month high it hit eight months ago. Sure, some of that decline is understandable since demand for steel is sensitive to global economic activity and the world went into 2022 burdened with concerns of slowdown. For reasons we know only too well, those worries have been transformed into dread of the worst depression in 50 years.
Even so, that doesn’t fully explain why the price drop has been so steep. Against the FTSE Industrial Engineering index comprising roughly comparable companies, Vesuvius shares have dropped by approaching 40 per cent in the past 12 months.