April 2018: All eyes on Asia.Posted: 2018-05-05
April saw a marked change in the dismal stockmarket performance this year. How come?
It’s not every month that a 60+ year war appears to have concluded. I’m all in favour of wrapping up these geopolitical loose ends, but I don’t think my portfolio cared that much about the history being made in Korea.
Trump has also had, dare I say it, a relatively good month on his trade bashing. Sentiment is starting to move in his favour on this, at least in what I read, helped by the sense that some important tariffs may fall under his assault on China/etc. Shareholders of Boeing, anything Russian etc haven’t had much fun but the rest of us have got plenty to celebrate.
Overall equities in most markets were up. FTSE gained almost 6% on the month. The US dollar rose 2% and its stock market climbed by more than that. Other main equity markets that I track – notably Eurozone and Australia – gained 4%. At this rate the stock markets have almost recovered the losses so far in the year.
Bonds dropped but only slightly. Overall the blended markets I track rose by 5% in April; 4% in constant currencies, and a 1% uplift provided by the USD.
How did my portfolio fare in the month? In fact I ‘only’ gained 4.6%. Given my levels of leverage, I have to count this as significant underperformance. Hard to feel too grumpy about it though and I tend to ignore over/under performance in any one month. In any case, my portfolio’s ascent up Mount Double is back on track.
Since the end of April I have had the first of a couple of windfalls that I’m due land in my account. If only the markets had stayed down for another week or two… but despite being near historic highs I’m putting the money to work. I’ll explain how in a forthcoming blog. In the meantime it means my month end allocations/exposures/leverage are already out of date so I won’t cover them.