(Alliance News) - F&C Investment Trust PLC reported its net asset value per share increased, but it underperformed its benchmark in the half year.

NAV per share on June 30 was 962.04 pence, was up 10% from 873.36p year-on-year.

NAT total return in the half year ended June 30 was a positive 4.7%, behind its benchmark, the FTSE All-World Index, at a positive 7.5%.

Chair Beatrice Holland said: "The valuation excesses in markets overall appear relatively contained and it now seems likely that the US may avoid recession... Against this background your manager will continue to adopt a diversified approach and remain focused on the longer term opportunities as they emerge."

Net debt widened to GBP371.8 million on June 30, up 10% from GBP337.3 million on December 31.

Net assets increased to GBP4.79 billion in the half year, up 5.5% from GBP4.54 billion at the same point the year before.

The company declared a dividend for its first half of 3.40p per share, up 6.3% from 3.20p the prior year.

F&C Investment said the future climate was uncertain, but that it expects the performance within equities to "broaden".

Fund Manager Paul Niven said: "Looking forward, while we remain uncertain of the unfolding economic environment, we do expect that performance within equities will broaden and that relative value will be an important consideration for prospective returns."

Shares in F&C Investment were down 1.1% to 869.00p in London on Thursday

By Will Neill, Alliance News reporter

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