Part of the rationale for starting this blog was that it would provide some discipline against acting impulsively and making unforced errors. I’m far from immune from fear and greed and the powerful impulses to act these emotions can generate. In the past I’ve occasionally succumbed to bouts of panic or impatience and made some pretty bonkers decisions as a result. Committing myself to record all of my trades and justify the rationale behind them publically provides a mechanism to restrain myself – it’s much easier to behave like an idiot when you think no-one is watching. Continue reading
I could feel the uncomfortable prickling of sweat on my back as I peered through the smoke at my host. The scrawny tattooed shaman was excitedly prodding at the embers of the now-extinguished fire and etching out strange patterns in the sand with a burnt bit of stick. Every so often he would look up at me and solemnly utter incomprehensible phrases, waiting for me to acknowledge with a nod. I could pick out a few words from his unfamiliar dialect: ‘candlestick’, ‘shoulders’. However, I did not understand their meaning. My guide had warned me not to question the shaman as he worked. The guide would translate for me later.
After a few minutes of this the shaman began to get agitated. He had carved out a large cross into the ground and was repeating the same phrase again and again, looking up at me with a troubled but imploring expression. I looked at my guide who was also starting to look worried: ‘he says there is a Death Cross. Bad news coming. Maybe the Fed. We must go. Now’
The market outlook feels like it has improved a little over the last couple of weeks. There has been quite a bounce since the start of the year, the Fed has signalled more accommodating monetary policy and there seems to be progress of sorts in trade negotiations between the US and China. No doubt this is just a temporary high point before the volatility resumes, but it is starting to feel like the worst may be behind us (touch wood).
2018 was a tough year for many investors, including me. I’m disappointed that my portfolio is down 4% for the year. While this is somewhat better than the wider stock market, it is a weaker performance relative to my benchmarks than I have achieved for the past few years. This leaves me looking for lessons to learn from and questioning whether there is anything about my strategy I should adjust.