April was a funny month in the UK. Holidays were back, with a vengeance. Everybody seemed desperate to catch up on overdue skiing, Spanish sun, holiday home action. It was hard getting business done over Easter to a level I have not seen before.
But once Easter was over, boy was London back. The school run traffic is back to not-seen-since-pandemic levels (in fact arguably above – see chart below). Restaurants are hard to book. Theatres are busy. This is all on Tuesdays-Thursdays, note, not on Mondays (which are the new Sundays). And lurgy-ridden public transport is still emptier than pre-covid. The tube is used by workers, but cars are used by school mums. But all in all, a pleasant change is in the air.
Nobody has told the FX markets, with the USD up almost 5% against the GBP. In one month. And up even more against the Euro and the AUD. I don’t quite follow this – though it is obviously something to do with relative inflation expectations and the attitude to the Fed.
In the middle of this, the stock markets are taking a bath, and I am getting very wet.
Most notable for me is that I have lost over £100k just on my AMZN position alone, which finished April just under $2500/share (down from an all time peak of around $3800). Being overweight tech, even ‘blue chip’ tech, has not been a good place to be. And being leveraged at the same time has, literally, compounded the misery.
My portfolio contained, at the start of 2022, over $1m worth of just 4 ‘blue chip’ tech stocks. Which between them have shed over 20% on average in 2022 alone. This stuff is seriously harming my financial health.
Thank goodness, for once, for my home bias. UK equity markets continue to be good defensively here.
My portfolio fell about 6% in April. This was somewhat worse than the markets I’m exposed to, measured in GBP. I blame AMZN.
Right now I am feeling the squeeze on cash. I haven’t even fully topped up my ISAs, which is very unusual for me this ‘late’ in the UK tax year. As I write this, markets have continued to fall into May. I am struggling to take advantage, and one my my leveraged accounts is getting into ‘amber warning’ zone. Let’s see what the rest of May holds.