Portfolio Update – February and March 2023

It is time for the combined February and March portfolio update, which were two months when the All Seasons Portfolio showed two different faces.

The US headline inflation rate keeps declining, landing at 6% in March.

All eyes are now fixed on economic growth, with investors searching for indicators of whether a recession is coming, and, if so, when it will hit. The rising interest rates are finding they ways to the economy, with the March banking scares being a symptom thereof (albeit a seemingly isolated event in SVB).

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Insights – Optimal Time to Rebalance a Portfolio and Rebalancing Timing Luck

The theory behind investing in a multi-asset portfolio is pretty straight forward when simplifying it. You select a diverse set of uncorrelated assets, assign target weights and then you're done. Not that tricky.

It is mostly the managing part of the investment process that is more challenging. First, you have to work on your conviction to stick to the strategy and remembering why you chose the strategy in the first place. Secondly, you have to deal with rebalancing the portfolio, as uncorrelated assets are guaranteed to develop in different directions with some assets zigging when others are zagging.

The topic of rebalancing is one which I find is underserved in the literature and one that I get most questions about. Usually, it is the theory behind a portfolio that is the most exciting to write about and which is the key topic that sells and attracts more clients. The science of rebalancing, however, is just something that is covered briefly, at most.

While I have been writing about portfolio rebalancing in the past, I have recently found renewed inspiration for this topic. That inspiration turned into this post, where we are looking more closely at rebalancing luck, and if there is an optimal time in a month to rebalance a portfolio.

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Portfolio Update – January 2023

The US headline inflation rate is still coming down from high levels, having come in at 6.4% for January, and is in a clearly falling trend.

The now larger uncertainty is on the economic growth side, with the growth rate of real GDP barely holding above 0% on a YoY basis. If 2022 was a year focused on inflation, in 2023, the story will be about growth and whether a "soft landing" becomes possible.

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eToro Post – Prediction versus Preparation and Why Diversification Matters

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The legendary credit investor Howard Marks (founder of Oaktree Capital Management) wrote an investor memo titled "You Can't Predict. You Can Prepare." in 2001.

Although more than 20 years have passed since these words were written, the message is almost eternal for investors.

The probability of consistently succeeding as an investor in this endeavor and regularly making money over decades is vanishingly small. This is why, as a capital manager, I constantly come back to the title of Howard Marks' memo, even though the memo was written from the perspective of a credit investors. Still, the words ring at least as true for a diversified macro-oriented portfolio, such as the All Seasons Portfolio.

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Insights – The Case for Gold in a Diversified Portfolio

Gold is a popular investment due to its ability to hedge against inflation, low correlation with the stock market, and its relationship with real interest rates. Using modern portfolio theory and the efficient frontier, investors can find the optimal allocation to gold in their portfolios that balances expected returns and risk. However, the optimal level of gold allocation will depend on an investor's specific investment objectives, risk tolerance, and financial situation. Therefore, adding gold to a well-diversified portfolio can improve its risk-return characteristics, particularly during periods of market stress.

In this article, we explore gold as an investment and inflation hedge, and briefly touch on how it fared in the inflationary year of 2022. We further look at the current case for gold in terms of real interest rates, the M2 money supply, and discuss how the gold price performs relative to also other currencies than just the US dollar.

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Portfolio Update – December 2022

2022 is over at last, and I am sure many have been looking forward to be closing the books for this eventful year and again start focusing on what lies ahead instead.

It has been one of those extremely rare years where three of the major asset classes - stocks, bonds, and gold - all have a bad year at the same time. This, of course, has had a negative impact also on the All Seasons Portfolio. While it is disappointing, this is an opportunity to train humility and remember that no strategy is always going to perform every year. Rather, over a cycle, we will witness good excess return over cash at lower volatility than the stock market.

At the time of writing this post (which comes out a bit late) 2023 has already commenced much stronger, and we are out the gates at a very good pace. While it is far too early to count the chickens before they hatch, at least we are getting some respite from the sour emotions of yesteryear.

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