Sep 2019/Q3 review

Well, September was fun wasn’t it.  Proroguing is now A Thing.  Impeachment is back.  The r word is in the media.  

From a markets point of view, nothing dramatic happened in September. Currency movements hit my GBP-denominated portfolio by about 1% in September, as the GBP gained a little against the other major currencies. Equities were pretty strongly up – 2.4% across my mix. Fixed income fell a little off recent highs. My portfolio tracked these market movements closely, rising 1.3% in total.

Returns by asset class/geography, Sep 2019
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July 2019: 3rd best month yet

Boris is bashing the pound, Trump is bashing the global economy. Who’d invest in anything, in this environment?

Well, when the Brexiteers pummel the pound, us globally diversified investors tend to do alright – provided we measure our progress in pounds! And FTSE-100 does alright too. This month was no exception; the GBP fell over 4% versus the USD, and FTSE rose over 2% partly as a consequence.

Bonds went up too, particularly in Europe (inc UK, obvs) – for reasons I’m not sure about.

Elsewhere was a bit more of a mixed bag – Oz equities steamed ahead, European/Asian equities sagged, the US shuffled forward.

Currency movements alone moved the markets I’m in up 2.7%, in GBP terms. Though the UK FTSE rose over 2%, my UK equity weighting is relatively low, so the diversified markets I’m in rose ‘only’ 1.1% in their local currencies during July (more thanks to bonds, than equities!). Combining the two effects means my market benchmark was a gain of 3.9% in July. Such months don’t happen often.

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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%.

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