Portfolio Update – August 2020 – How downgraded credit ratings may impact your portfolio

  • Monthly portfolio update: Fairly stable month: bonds down on Fed policy shift, but offset by K-shaped recovery in stocks and commodities
  • Book tip: The Everything Bubble: The Endgame For Central Bank Policy by Graham Summers (link at the bottom of the post)
  • In case you missed it: I have ditched all intermediate-term bonds (post from 3 August 2020)
  • Coming soon: a post on real estate investing and how it fits in the All Seasons Portfolio. Stay tuned, and subscribe to newsletter for notifications!

Buongiorno!

I hope you have had a great summer under the circumstances, and are ready for the next (non-economical) season!

When posting this article, I have just come home to Sweden after a few weeks of visiting my girlfriend's family in Italy. For sure, the virus has put a great strain on the country, but it is good to see that things are moving in the right direction with society opening up. With few exceptions, new cases have been declining in Italy and Europe, which has bolstered investors with renewed confidence the past months.

Our vacation this year was not as we had initially planned (beaches in Sicily), but of a less touristy, and much more responsible, sort. Instead, we have stayed with her family and taken a few day trips to selected non-crowded destination (Venice has not been this empty for centuries). While more and more flights are opening up across Europe, it is still important to be cautious and not take unnecessary risks. One should not think that the danger is over, just because travelling is again somewhat possible. We can just hope for a full recovery as soon as possible.

But this is not a travel blog, but a financial blog, even though I wish to one day be able to sustain a life abroad thanks to my finances.

In this light, I have lately been thinking about how Covid-19 has affected the financial stability of countries, and how that in turn will impact sovereign credit ratings. For example, if debt-to-GDP would increase too much, if the affordability of the debt would fall, or if the economic outlook or stability of a nation would decrease, it will impact the country's ability to service its debt.

The ability to service debt - or a sovereign state's credit worthiness - is what the credit rating agencies Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poor, are all analysing and rating. If a sovereign state has a good credit rating (AAA, Aaa etc.), this gives great comfort to the investors who purchase the country's bonds that there is a low risk of that the state defaults on its debt.

Continue Reading Portfolio Update – August 2020 – How downgraded credit ratings may impact your portfolio

Portfolio Update – July 2020 – The value of currency hedging

  • Worst month for the US Dollar in more than a decade: how it impacts European investors and how to protect against currency risk
  • Monthly portfolio update: Fairly stable month: impacted by negative currency movements
  • Book tip: Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises by Ray Dalio (link at the bottom of the post)
  • In case you missed it: I have ditched all intermediate-term bonds

Hope you are having a good summer so far, even though I am guessing it is spent quite close to home this year. Unlike others here in the Nordics, I have worked through July, and will have my vacation from mid-August instead. Looking forward to get some time off to read about investing.

I am really pleased to see that there seems to be great interest out there for low-volatility investing and balanced asset portfolio allocations. I strongly believe that the past decade has made stock investing feel easy, but there are more risk in it that you might have thought. Over the long term, the economy, and thus the financial markets, experiences big shifts in the long-term cycle. Now, total debt levels to GDP are at extreme levels not seen since the Great Depression.

This ratio is enhanced by decreasing GDP world-wide due to lockdowns and increased debt to cope with the effects of the coronavirus. Are we nearing the end of the long term debt cycle and are nearing a great deleveraging that must ensue thereafter? According to Ray Dalio, we were nearing the end of the long-term debt cycle even a year before the Covid-19 outbreak hit the markets, as he describes in a video posted by Yahoo Finance from early 2019.

That is quite scary when you think of it, and if I was heavily invested in stocks, I would be terrified. Luckily, several assets in the All Seasons Portfolio and a balanced portfolio will protect against such downturn. You will find a link to Ray Dalio's book Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises (2018) at the end of this post. If you have not read this already - it is now more relevant than ever.

Even though it is interesting, that is not the main topic for the day. Instead, we will be discussing EUR Hedged investing.

Continue Reading Portfolio Update – July 2020 – The value of currency hedging

Portfolio Update – June 2020 – We’re In The Clear: Shift To Stocks! But Not Really…

  • Summary of June 2020 in the economy - Stock market is still uncertain
  • Monthly portfolio update: Fairly stable month: long-term bonds down, stocks, gold and commodities up
  • Book tip: Balanced Asset Allocation: How to Profit in Any Economic Climate by Alex Shahidi (link at the bottom of the post)
  • In case you missed it: Deep Dive post about how to hedge against inflation on my Patreon page was published earlier in June

I am so glad that you have found your way to my June portfolio update of the All Seasons Portfolio blog. It is a rainy afternoon here in Stockholm that I am writing this in early July. Still keeping social distancing and working from home quite a lot. Hoping to see a change soon, for the benefit of all fellow Europeans. We really need to get the economy going again, as I am sure you agree. Hope you have been able to keep your job though.

This month, I have come to the conclusion that the time for stocks is now, at least if you look at what is going on in the markets. Not sure if I am convinced this is the way we are heading, so I prefer to diversify my portfolio properly.

The stock market have bounced back from the steepest downturn in memory, and what looks like the shortest recession in history if you only look at the stock market development. The stock market is almost back at similar levels to where they were before all hell broke loose in February, regardless but S&P 500 saw almost flat development over June with +1.8%. Mostly, the climb in stocks were driven by tech and "stay at home" companies, as Nasdaq composite rose 6% over the month.

On top of that, central banks and governments over the world are launching new stimulus packages by the week, as we covered in last month's update. The two acronyms TINA and FOMO are the main forces driving the markets upwards. As a reminder, these stand for "There Is No Alternative" and "Fear Of Missing Out", meaning that investors see that there is no alternative to stocks to achieve return, and investors are afraid to be left at the station if they do not jump on the train as soon as possible. Both of these are driving great amount of money into the stock market, increasing demand.

Continue Reading Portfolio Update – June 2020 – We’re In The Clear: Shift To Stocks! But Not Really…

Portfolio Update – May 2020 – What happens now? Uncertainty after Covid-19

  • Summary of April 2020 in the economy
  • The most important lessons from the coronavirus crisis to remember and to prepare for future crises
  • My All Seasons Portfolio is up 3.93% month by month. Total value now over EUR 4,000
  • Bought Stocks and Commodities this month, and switched Long-Term Government Bonds ETF to US Treasuries instead of global bonds

Welcome back for another monthly update of the All Seasons Portfolio blog. This time around, we have had to digest another month in lock down and April 2020 could perhaps be remembered for us all wanting to forget it.

Anyway, I hope that both you and your families and loved ones have stayed in good health, and that you haven't been too restless at home.

On my end, things have been hectic at work with long days, which is not surprising when you work with loans to corporates. These are interesting times but I am holding up. Hope we will soon be seeing an end of the tunnel. However, I am very pleased and humbled to still have job, as I know not everyone have been that lucky. And at least in Sweden, we have been able to exercise outside, but if our government have employed the right strategy through the outbreak, I am not the right person to take a stance on. All I know is that I have been working from home the past 8 weeks and been avoiding to go to the bars (which cannot be said for all my countrymen). Just hoping that we all will soon be able to get these crazy times behind us.

These are crazy times in our daily lives and for the economy, it has not been uneventful on the financial markets either. It feels quite difficult to summarize everything that goes on when so much happens. It also feels like there is so much going on that you lose the sense of time, like did the WTI crude oil flash crash happen 3 weeks ago or 3 months ago? It seems s hard to keep track of time when stuck at home.

Continue Reading Portfolio Update – May 2020 – What happens now? Uncertainty after Covid-19

Portfolio Update – April 2020 – Covid-19 – Time to reflect and prepare for next crisis

  • Summary of April 2020 in the economy
  • The most important lessons from the coronavirus crisis to remember and to prepare for future crises
  • My All Seasons Portfolio is up 3.93% month by month. Total value now over EUR 4,000
  • Bought Stocks and Commodities this month, and switched Long-Term Government Bonds ETF to US Treasuries instead of global bonds

Welcome back for another monthly update of the All Seasons Portfolio blog. This time around, we have had to digest another month in lock down and April 2020 could perhaps be remembered for us all wanting to forget it.

Anyway, I hope that both you and your families and loved ones have stayed in good health, and that you haven't been too restless at home.

On my end, things have been hectic at work with long days, which is not surprising when you work with loans to corporates. These are interesting times but I am holding up. Hope we will soon be seeing an end of the tunnel. However, I am very pleased and humbled to still have job, as I know not everyone have been that lucky. And at least in Sweden, we have been able to exercise outside, but if our government have employed the right strategy through the outbreak, I am not the right person to take a stance on. All I know is that I have been working from home the past 8 weeks and been avoiding to go to the bars (which cannot be said for all my countrymen). Just hoping that we all will soon be able to get these crazy times behind us.

These are crazy times in our daily lives and for the economy, it has not been uneventful on the financial markets either. It feels quite difficult to summarize everything that goes on when so much happens. It also feels like there is so much going on that you lose the sense of time, like did the WTI crude oil flash crash happen 3 weeks ago or 3 months ago? It seems s hard to keep track of time when stuck at home.

Continue Reading Portfolio Update – April 2020 – Covid-19 – Time to reflect and prepare for next crisis

Portfolio Update – March 2020 – Have you been taking too much risk?

  • Reading tips on how the All Seasons Portfolio Strategy has developed during the coronavirus bear market
  • Have you been taking too much risk as an investor?
  • The monthly portfolio update - Stocks still down, gold is up again
  • A lesson learned from a mistake I made on choosing my Long Term Government Bond ETF.

Hi, and happy to have you back for another monthly update!

Here in Sweden, as you may have heard, our government are taking a different approach than the rest of Europe. I don't condone how they are treating it, but I have been working from home for more than 3 weeks now (and counting), doing my part in not spreading the virus further. We are all in this together and everyone has a responsibility to limit the spreading.

And now down to business. Another month has passed with heavy impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus on the financial markets. There is so much that could be written on the coronavirus outbreak and its effects on the economy, and honestly, it is way more than can reasonably be covered in this blog post.

I will, however, share how it has impacted my portfolio so far, some personal observations, and also reflect on risk taking, as I believe many retail investors have been in over their heads on the stock market in recent years and only now get a glimpse of what risk means. And of course, I will share the usual monthly portfolio update.

Continue Reading Portfolio Update – March 2020 – Have you been taking too much risk?