Markets are unlikely to level out until the number of coronavirus cases in Europe and the US begins to show signs of peaking and until then "fear and uncertainly remain", Rathbones Global Opportunities fund manager James Thomson has warned.
In the fund's latest portfolio update, he said markets had suffered a traumatic period as investors remained unconvinced that the monetary and fiscal responses from governments around the world were sufficient.
Thomson said almost 65% of the fund was in US dollars - through its US equity holdings. The currency, he added, had seen a 12% rise during the sell-off due to huge global demand.
"I think this position will continue to act as a buffer," explained Thomson.
Defensive equities such as medical devices and supply companies, consumer staples businesses - such as online supermarket Ocado - and pest control business Rollins were also up over the period.
Thomson said the fund had found safe havens in rubbish collection business Waste Connections, and discount membership warehouse CostCo.
"[We] have been adding to our positions. We are not being too cute - just a small amount across almost everything in the portfolio."
The fund has been largely unaffected the global collapse in travel and leisure business as it does not own any holdings in airlines, cruise lines, hotels or restaurants.
However, its performance has been "dented" by holdings in technology and consumer companies. Companies which supply some of the most affected industries have also been hit, said Thomson, citing a holding in a company that makes professional kitchens and an IT software operation linked to airlines.
The frozen potato product industry will also suffer due to the closure of restaurants on a mass scale, he added.
However, Thomson said: "In every previous recession, demand for French fries has remained consistent. Even though this is not like other recessions, we are going to hold onto this stock as we know demand will return.
"In short, these consumer, technology and second-order stocks have been painful, dropping between 20-40%.
"We will continue to avoid the most economically sensitive high fixed-cost areas of the market, such as commodities, banks, industrials, airlines, autos, and value stocks.
"A lack of expertise in emerging markets and Japan means we'll also be avoiding those markets.
"The next few weeks will be challenging for investors."