It was inevitable that equity markets would lose some steam after the spectacular bounce in the first quarter. The second quarter has been more volatile as the conflicting narratives of impending recession and indefinitely continuing low interest rates play out, though overall the markets have continued to make progress. After a fantastic April, my portfolio has been slowly and steadily inching forward over the last couple of months. Continue reading
I can only post fairly infrequently at the moment as I have a lot on my plate, what with planning our DIY summer wedding and simultaneously embarking on the most important work project of my career so far. It’s been a lot harder to make time for the blog. I do intend to keep it running, but at a slower pace for the time being.
A recurring issue I’ve been grappling with recently is whether I should be trying to shift my focus more to smaller businesses. Instinctively, it feels like the smaller cap space should be a more productive hunting ground for a small private investor like me. I’d expect small caps to be less well researched and the markets more illiquid, giving greater scope for shares to be mispriced. On top of that there should be greater scope for growth when you start from a smaller base. However, in practice I’ve found that identifying high quality is much harder in the small caps space. Should be trying harder? Continue reading
Markets had a bit of a wobble since my last update a couple of weeks ago, but are now looking up again. The financial news often feels like Groundhog Day at the moment, with the same concerns about a US or global recession, the reaction of the Fed, inverted yield curves, trade wars and Brexit appearing then receding from week to week. My portfolio has been holding up relatively well apart from one fly in the ointment – Burford Capital.
In my view, the most important empirical result in equity investing is just how unevenly long term returns are distributed across different businesses. This has important implications, yet is often overlooked. It provides the clearest rationale for why focusing on quality is the main, or perhaps even the only, thing that matters in the long run. Continue reading
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
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
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