Portfolio Update – August 2022

July is well behind us, and now that most of the rate hikes in the US up to about 3.75-4.00% are expected and priced in, the All Seasons Portfolio got a bit of a revenge this past month with some positive performance.

The US inflation rate for July was just published as 8.5%, down from 9.1% in June, and below market expectations of 8.7%. It could be that inflation has peaked, as theorised by several market commentators and macro traders, and that the main fear on a forward-looking basis is weak growth.

We check out a few extra charts this month to find more perspective on what the market believes about inflation going forward. If expectations are coming down, there would be more room for new surprises to the upside that are not priced in.

It is wise - as always - to remain agnostic.

Continue ReadingPortfolio Update – August 2022

Portfolio Update – July 2022

July is well behind us, and now that most of the rate hikes in the US up to about 3.75-4.00% are expected and priced in, the All Seasons Portfolio got a bit of a revenge this past month with some positive performance.

The US inflation rate for July was just published as 8.5%, down from 9.1% in June, and below market expectations of 8.7%. It could be that inflation has peaked, as theorised by several market commentators and macro traders, and that the main fear on a forward-looking basis is weak growth.

We check out a few extra charts this month to find more perspective on what the market believes about inflation going forward. If expectations are coming down, there would be more room for new surprises to the upside that are not priced in.

It is wise - as always - to remain agnostic.

Continue ReadingPortfolio Update – July 2022

Portfolio Update – June 2022

The half-time whistle has sounded for 2022, and it is one of the worst first halves in a very long time for the stock market - not since 1970 has this US stock index declined more than 20% in the first six months of a year. Coincidently, that was also a time of rapidly rising inflation and rising rates to combat it, which echoes in this market decline, albeit there are many structural differences between the two compared years.

A decline of more than 20% also famously (or infamously) is the mark for when investors consider a bear market to officially have begun. While stocks have recovered slightly in the first part of July to get back on the right side of that limit, it is still clear that this current market environment is not fitting stocks at all.

As predicted a month ago in the May 2022 monthly update, the Fed's chairman Powell has increased the steering rate by 75bps to 1.50%, and as non-farm payrolls came in stronger than expected for June (372k added jobs vs. expected 268k), there is room for further sharp hikes from the the US central bank as the hikes so far have not adversely impacted the employment rate, why further hikes would be possible without hurting the economy as much as first feared. It is likely that the Fed is chasing a recession as it is currently only focusing on inflation as stated by J. Power after the June meeting, why rising rates can be expected into a recession.

The commentary on the latest Macro Voices episode with an interview of Jeff Snider (7 July 2022), is however that from looking at the eurodollar curve, the market expects some additional hikes into the autumn and end of 2022, before the Fed lifts its foot from the throttle and perhaps starts easing again into 2023/2024. This possibility is something to bear in mind while allocating assets ahead, but much uncertainty remains.

Let us take a closer look at how this all affects the markets and my All Seasons Portfolio.

Continue ReadingPortfolio Update – June 2022

Portfolio Update – May 2022

Market update of May 2022 includes a growing dependency on the next few inflation prints, as these will determine the strength of Fed's reactions and in extent the direction of the stock and bonds markets.

With negative QoQ real GDP growth in the US and continuing high inflation, we are not far from a technical recession and truly entering a stagflationary environment. While not there completely yet, the risk will put pressure on growth assets and nominal bonds, why broader exposure to other assets is recommended.

In my All Seasons Portfolio, the above factors impacted monthly returns negatively, but I expect my strategy to be prepared for the uncertainty ahead with continuing overweighting to inflation assets.

Continue ReadingPortfolio Update – May 2022

Portfolio Update – April 2022

Market update of April 2022 includes a continuing emphasis on interest rate risk on the back of rising inflation, albeit recession fears raise questions of the timing of rate hikes and the impact on the economy. We'll analyze what the indicators tell.

As a result of the current inflationary environment, strongest portfolio performers include commodities, gold and VIX in April, but much of the profits were offset by losses in bonds. Portfolio overall remained stable.

In my strategy, a couple of tweaks have been implemented last month: i) tactical tilt toward inflation-linked bonds from nominal bonds, and ii) introduction of leverage through margin. Read more about these changes in this month's post.

Continue ReadingPortfolio Update – April 2022

Portfolio Update – February 2022

This month, I will be trying a slightly changed format for this monthly update post.

Previously, I have combined a deep dive/insights text with an update of my portfolio performance, but I have been considering changing things up a bit.

Instead, I will today be first focusing only on a market update for the past month, together with looking a trends in economic growth and inflation (remember, the four regimes that the All Seasons Portfolio strategy is designed to fend off), before presenting my portfolio update on the back of it.

In February 2022, as well see from the indicators, we remain in an inflationary boom - for now - but it seems like stagflation could be on the horizon as the growth rate is falling.

Continue ReadingPortfolio Update – February 2022