Trade bores

After a roaring April with double digit gains, so far May has been rather more frustrating. I have three things to thank for this: one, the rekindling of the US China trade war; two, an analyst note questioning the accounting of what was my largest holding, Burford Capital; and three, a chest infection that’s taking its sweet time to get better. None of these issues seem worth getting too bothered about in the long term, but that doesn’t stop them being a source of frustration right now.  Continue reading

What drives share prices?

This post is inspired by reading George Soros’s paper on reflexivity.  I’ve taken the basic idea but then applied it to investing in a different way to Soros. The result is that I end up writing about a something a bit different. The implications are fairly intuitive and I think crucial to understanding why markets behave the way they do. This post is more abstract conjecture than practical advice, but hopefully I’ve managed to come up with something that manages to be thought-provoking but accessible. Continue reading

JD bought

Everything seems to be looking up in the markets at the moment, at least it does from my particular vantage point. My portfolio has risen pretty relentlessly so far this year and is almost back at its all time highs, something I  didn’t expect to happen nearly so quickly back at Christmas time. Many of the other investors I follow on Twitter have also been posting high-teen YTD returns or better (well done if that’s you). As I mentioned in my recent portfolio review, I think the macro picture currently seems fairly benign for investors in high quality equities. What could go wrong I wonder? Continue reading

Dog’s breakfast

The latest round of Parliamentary voting on Brexit has left the ultimate outcome entirely unresolved, with two weeks to go before we are due to leave. All possible outcomes are still on the table. This includes not only the indeterminate extension to Article 50 that has been voted for but also Theresa May’s deal, which refuses to go away despite it being resoundingly rejected twice by some evidently not-so-meaningful votes, and no-deal, which remains the default despite Parliament voting against it. Continue reading

Swings and roundabouts

The spectre of economic and market meltdown continues to recede after the panicky final quarter of last year. We now have an accomodating Fed, better than expected economic growth in the US, progress in trade negotiations with China and an imminent no-deal Brexit looking less likely. Valuations for high quality shares are becoming pretty demanding in some cases but not outlandishly so. I’m becoming more confident that 2019 is likely to be a good year for equities. There’s certainly been quite a steaming run so far. I’m pleased to be up about 10% but this doesn’t seem to be that special – the S&P 500 is up 12% after one of the best starts to a calendar year ever! Continue reading

SYK bought

It’s been a very positive start to 2019 for stock markets on both sides of the pond. There has been a fairly relentless rise since the Christmas Eve low. It’s starting to feel like the worst of the correction may be behind us. However, in the short term we seem to be near a point of inflection, with the US indices bouncing around near the 200 day moving averages and the FTSE not far behind. As ever, it could go either way from here. Either way, I’m feeling vindicated in my decision to remain fully invested through the recent volatility. I might have gained in the short term from selling out but it would have been bloody hard to decide when to get back in. Continue reading

Unforced errors

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