About qualitysharesurfer

UK based private investor sunlighting as a competition economist

Signs of trouble?

The pace of my output has slowed considerably in recent months. This is partly just a case of losing a bit of momentum as work and life events get in the way and partly because the Covid-related disruption has changed my routine. I haven’t had my two hours of commuting each day to spend jotting down my investing thoughts and haven’t yet found the discipline to consistently set aside other time. That said I’ve got quite a few half-baked blog posts on the go and hope to be able to share them soon. Anyway, here’s a brief update on my latest thoughts on what’s happening in the markets and my latest trades…

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Inflation or deflation?

Back in March I thought that the prospect of my portfolio reaching new highs again within three months was outside the realms of possibility. This resilience in the face of a very severe economic contraction likely has something to do with expansionary government policies, in particular the huge injections of liquidity into financial markets by central banks. But has this really ‘solved’ the issue? 

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Portfolio review: July 2020

We are just halfway through 2020, but it already feels more eventful than the past few years combined. I’ve had to restrain myself from overusing the word ‘unprecedented’, apt as it is for describing many of this years events. Despite the fastest stock market crash in history and a cack-handed attempt at market timing, my performance so far this year has actual turned out OK at around 13% YTD.

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S curves: watch out for the bend!

More and more of our economy revolves around information technology. A handful of tech giants have experienced unprecedented success in seizing control of large parts of our increasingly internet-dependent economy in just a few years. This trend is only going to increase.

Technology businesses can make excellent investments – many are inherently highly profitable and can scale very quickly. However, assessing the valuation of this sort of high growth business can be challenging.One of the most important and obvious determinants of valuation that seems to get less attention than it should is what the growth profile will look like. Is it likely to accelerate or decelerate and how long will it persist?

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Confused bear

I’m about as bearish as I’ve been on the medium term prospects for the stock market. Like many others, I feel that the stock market isn’t fully reflecting the risks to the economy from the lock-down measures currently implemented around the world. It is already evident that the magnitude of the economic shock is unprecedented. And that’s even if we manage to lift the lock-down measures soon. It seems unlikely that we will to do so fully given the high probability of the dreaded ‘second wave’. In the meantime the economy will continue to suffer. Why then does the stock market seem to be defying gravity at the moment?

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Portfolio review: April 2020

I, like many investors, am glad to be seeing the back of that quarter. The Coronavirus has caused a rapid crash over the last month in most stock markets across the world. This has left the FTSE 100 down 27.9% and the S&P 500 down 22.9% over the last three months. My portfolio hasn’t fared a great deal better at 18.4% down. It doesn’t look like we are quite out of the woods yet.

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A swift recovery?

I have now fully recovered from Covid-19, assuming that is what I have had over the past week. The main symptoms were severe fatigue and shortness of breath. This was debilitating enough to excuse me from doing any work or household chores but almost imperceptible if I remained completely immobile, say reading Twitter or watching Netflix in bed. My lungs felt like they took a pounding but have recovered quickly. So all in all not the worst virus I’ve had the pleasure of hosting by any means. I’m thankful to be getting off relatively lightly.

Given the extraordinary times, I’ve updated again below with my latest thoughts on the economic outlook and what this means for my game plan. I’ve also updated on my purchases from last week.
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Too late to panic?

Stock markets have taken another steep tumble since my post last week. People say that the bottom of a market crash happens when everyone gives up, at the point of maximum pessimism. My emotions have taken a bit of a pounding too and I’ve started to feel the urge to capitulate. Maybe that means we are near the bottom? I fear not. I’m trying my best to remain level-headed in deciding the best course of action from here. This probably isn’t helped by the fact that my wife and I are locked down in self-isolation in our London flat with mild symptoms of the virus…

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Portfolio health check

Last week was one to remember! After a big fall on Monday led to comparisons with the October 1987 crash, we had another massive fall on Thursday after markets were unimpressed by Trump’s response of restricting flights from Europe. The result is that we’ve now had the fastest ever market crash by some margin – just 20 days to fall 20% from the highs. Exciting stuff, but a little harrowing if you are fully invested as I am. Continue reading