April 2019: we’re back on top of the world

April was a fairly remarkable month, for my portfolio at least.

Image result for photos top of the world london
Can we get any higher than this?

It hasn’t been widely remarked upon, but the US stock market regained its all-time high – completely reversing the brutal Q4 performance. UK stocks had a pretty good month too, albeit (as shown below) they remain some way off their summer 2018 levels.

USA, UK and Eurozone equity performance over 2 years (exc dividends)

April saw the market tide lift all the equity boats that I track. Bonds plodded forward too – at least in the UK and USA. So the only asset class I saw fall in April was Australian bonds, with an election campaign underway.

What these market averages don’t reveal is some remarkable movements within the markets.

Though my investment approach is fundamentally an ‘asset allocation’ approach, I have a couple of sub portfolios within my USA equities which follow particular strategies. This gives me visibility on a couple of particular investment styles. I’ve written before about how my High Yield Portfolio has sucked; these days it is a very small sub portfolio, and thank goodness – because its recent performance continues to suck and in April it dropped 1.1%.

But two of my other sub portfolio are significant components of my net worth, and both saw very strong returns in April in particular.

  • My ‘tech growth’ subportfolio returned 8.8% in April. Amazon, which has grown to become a large holding for me, was up 8% on the month. Facebook, a much smaller holding, was up 16%. And every other holding in this subportfolio rose; Google, up ‘only’ 2% on the month, was a relative disappointment.
  • My ‘dividend growth’ subportfolio jumped up 11%. This was the really surprising result of the month. The big contributor here was Qualcomm (which, though another ‘tech stock’, is not in that particular subportfolio of mine), which won a patent dispute with Apple and jumped 51%. But even olde worlde Disney rose 23%, despite a CEO pay broadside from Walt’s granddaughter. JP Morgan was up 15%, Berkshire was up 8%, the list goes on.

Overall, my extensive diversification diluted the impact of these remarkable gains, so my overall return in April was ‘only’ 2.9%. This was, nonetheless, enough to take my overall return to within a hair’s breadth of its record month-end level ever. And my annual return since I started monthly tracking over 6 years ago remains above 11%, fully blended.

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