April 2021 – a silver medal month

April news saw a lot of stuff’n’nonsense about decorating the PM’s flat. This is silly-season stuff, even though it isn’t silly season. In the meantime, covid-19 vaccination progress in the UK has been excellent; my London borough now has fewer than 40 cases, and nationwide numbers are dropping by 30-40% a week. Shops are open again. Socialising/pubs/restaurants are open but outdoors only, which sounds useful but the weather has been simply too cold – especially in the evenings – to make the most of the opportunity.

In the markets, April started well. And continued doing well. And ended exceedingly well. Unless you were unfortunate enough to buy shares in Deliveroo, of course.

S&P 500 gained 6.5% in April. Google, a top 3 holding of mine, gained over 10%; Amazon, my biggest single holding, was up almost 10%. Netflix dropped a bit, but I don’t own it so I dodged that bullet.

FTSE pipped above 7000 briefly but couldn’t keep it up. Nonetheless it was up 4% in the month. My biggest UK holding, a FTSE-250 stock, rose over 10%. The UK’s tech IPO market has been seeing signs of life – along with Deliveroo, Trustpilot and others have been doing IPOs – but I have no exposure to it at this point. Meanwhile CTY, a significant holding of mine, has lagged the index.

These gains have left my portfolio feeling very bouyant. It climbed 6% in the month. This outperformed my benchmarks by about 1.0%.

Market movements and my exposure to each market

I have had better months than +6% before. Once or twice. But they have been when the market was recovering from a dip – like around this point in 2020. The only time the portfolio has seen its high water mark increase more was when a certain Donald Trump had the election “stolen” from him (#fakenews) – which earnt November 2020 the Gold medal. This leaves April 2021 with the Silver medal – for the 2nd best ‘beating a PB’ month in over 8 years.

Returns by month since inception (as at 1 May 2021)

I had a healthy clip of dividends in April, which makes a pleasant change on most of the last 12 months. I have been reinvesting them into my underweight allocations, which mostly means Fixed Income in UK and USA. I don’t have much enthusiasm for buying bonds, especially as I feel that we will see some real inflation for the first time in years, but my system is my system. And I’m mostly buying index-linked bonds (via INXG) which hopefully gives me some protection.

I have taken a five figure sum out of the portfolio for a home project Mrs FvL is working on, while managing to resist her pleas for me to sell at the toptime the market. I remain modestly overweight on cash (/underweight on my margin loan).

Delta versus target allocation, 30 April 2021

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