Best. January. Ever.

January 2019 is making the -8.8% in 2018 feel like a distant memory.

Since my last post, I’ve received some queries asking about my specific positions. With the CNY break around the corner, I’ve some time to put all this up. Some have asked me why I’m no longer putting up my extensive writeups on stuff that I’ve done DD on. Well, that’s cos I’m mostly working on global equities, particularly US ones, and I don’t think there’s much appetite for that here.

And anyway, I did put up in fact:

11% Returns In A Single Day. Thank You Blue Orca Capital!

TTI: “I’m Sorry, It’s All Over Between Us. I’m Breaking Up With You”

OK, I can’t find the one on DIS right now, but I’m sure it’s somewhere around.

This post is specifically on the US portion of my portfolio, excluding the SG and the bond portions.


Since my last post (1st Post Of 2019.), things have gotten… even better. MUCH better.

I’d have taken a 22.11% return and ended 2019 right there and then. Yet, TTI’s US portfolio continued outperforming S&P and other index benchmarks massively.

819) ROI US.jpg

As of end Jan 2019, the ROI shot up to 28.36%.

NAV rose from USD 441,055.43 to USD 550,988.57, and that’s after a withdrawal of USD 14,716.20 made. 

Net quantum gain in Jan 2019 alone was thus USD 124,649.34.

The best 1 day return was on the 04th Jan 2019, when the portfolio gained 7.32% in a single day, while the worst was on the 03rd Jan 2019, when the portfolio fell 4.45% in a single day.

I’d just cut and paste parts of the report that IB churns out for me…

820) NAV US.jpg

As one can see in the pie chart, my long positions are mostly in the form of equities, and short positions are in the form of options.

There is a huge short position in the form of cash (I utilized USD cash leverage), as I expected the USD – SGD to weaken when there’s a recovery following Dec 2018’s carnage.

And weaken it did in 2019 thus far, giving rise to a tailwind that amplified my returns.

I don’t usually consider forex too much in my considerations, but this 1 instance is… hmmmm…. kinda like a sun eclipse.

Everything’s aligned perfectly.

Well, I’m hoping it lasts a bit longer than an eclipse.

Here’s what fueled the outperformance:

821) US positions.jpg

FB, BHC, CTL, CHK and V were the 5 largest positions, of which, only CTL is currently in the red YTD. All other positions are up, with the others being up double digit percentages.

Although I didn’t do an extensive write up on these positions, I did put in estimates on IN with a quick explanation:

822) CHK.jpg

823) FB.jpg

824) BHC.jpg

Even nestled within the “OTHERS” part of the portfolio, are smaller positions, but they too have contributed greatly to the outperformance with double digit returns in Jan alone. Like my perennial favorite AVGO and MU, as well as a new small position in SWK:

825) AVGO.jpg

832) SWK.jpg

The 1 position that has not come through for me thus far is CenturyLink, yet I remain confident in my DD. At an average entry price of around USD 18+, the yield is almost 12%! (lower after the 30% witholding tax)

831) CTL.jpg

Obviously, markets are anticipating a dividend cut… as they have been since the past 6 quarters. For the record, management has reaffirmed that the div will be protected, and thus far, their FCF is able to support the div and debt payments until 2021.

Despite growth in FCF, the markets attributed a lower share price to CTL since Q3’s ER, mainly due to concerns over the topline.

Management has explained the reason for the revenue weakness. As part of their ongoing review of contracts, management has eliminated contracts or allowed the lapsing of contracts that are not FCF generative.

The question I guess, in everybody’s mind, is… how much lower will the revenue drop when this exercise is concluded. We’d find out more in the next ER due on 13th Feb 2019, so that’s something really exciting for me to look forward to. In the meantime, my options strategy provide a constant tailwind. I just… need a tiny boost from CTL’s results k.

Back to the reporting:

826) Allocation by FI.jpg

This bar chart looks simple, but packs quite a bit of info.

Firstly, obviously, most of my long positions are in the form of the traditional long equities. Options account for a tiny part, but really provide a massive boost (if I get it right) from the inbuilt leverage.

Also, we can see the blue bars getting shorter, as I’ve been liquidating some positions and locking in the profits.

The green bars also indicate my short USD positions since the start of the month, and since the USD has weakened considerably, I’ve started covering the USD shorts, hence the shortening of the green bars.

827) Allocation by sector.jpg

Man. What’d you know…

IT idiot TTI is actually pretty heavily vested in… gasp. Technology?!

LOL. Basically from my outsized positions in FB, which has gone ballistic.


AND THIS.

This is the most important to me, the relative performance against benchmarks:

(Blue line = TTI)

829) Benchmark chart.jpg

Well, like what Alex Ferguson used to say:

“The table doesn’t lie”

828) Benchmark comparison.jpg

Breaking it down, that’s when it gets interesting.

Basically, I can best summarize it as: “when it gets good, it gets great, when it gets bad, it gets terrible”

When markets are red, TTI drops much more than the benchmarks, but when it’s green, well, I’m unbeatable.

830) Risk analysis.jpg

OK, I won’t try to be an expert here. I have no idea what VAMI is.

But obviously, TTI’s volatility is much much greater than all 3 benchmarks.

Max drawdown is the highest

Sharpe ratio is the highest too

Interestingly, the number of positive periods is the least amongst the 4, while the number of negative periods is the greatest!

Hmmm, so massive outperformance, but I’ve more days of red and less days of green than the benchmark.

This can only mean that when it’s green… I made it really count.

Which brings to mind the famous quote by Stanley Druckenmiller:

“It’s not how often you are right or wrong that matters, but how much you make when you are right and how much you lose when you are wrong that matters”

OK, I’d include this link right here, from an interview with Druckenmiller:

https://www.valuewalk.com/2017/11/stanley-druckenmiller-greatest-lesson-ever-learned-george-soros/


So what’s next?

I don’t proclaim to be a macro guy.

I don’t… really know.

But I know a 28.36% return in a mth is not normal, so I’m locking in profits. In my previous post, I painted a pessimistic picture.

28.36% makes me a bit happier, but otherwise doesn’t change anything fundamentally. The world doesn’t care about what TTI feels.

My own sense is that with the generally positive earnings season underway, we’d see a period of green for a while longer, perhaps another month or 2 till March, before things get dicey again.

Having shorted VXX (which has since been redeemed and no longer exists), I’m still currently short it’s reincarnation VXXB.

VIX is back into contango, and I think it’d go back firmly into contango a bit longer as the markets calm down, but it’d be a mistake to think this will last. I plan to start rebuilding a position in VXXB again.

In the meantime, here’s wishing all readers a big fat prosperous CNY ahead!

Adios.

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1st Post Of 2019.

Just realized that it’s been >1 month since my last post. Have been swarmed with work and life in general.

And what’d you know… Just as I was typing this post, I got this email:

813) dead blog.jpg

LOL. Yea. Exactly 37mins ago.

Anyway, the 1st post in 2019 will be just a random mish mash of whatever comes to mind. Oh oh, I guess some results reporting is in order too.

But 1st up, part of the motivation for this post is to help the guys at SGX announce this .(belatedly, but better late than never).

I’d just literally cut and paste instead of trying to talk about it (cos I’m really tired right now):

814) New SGX website.jpg

I am pleased to inform you that the long-awaited new SGX.com will be officially replacing our existing website on 12 Jan 2019.

The new website features three key improvements:

  1. It is mobile responsive and device agnostic, being compatible with any smartphone, tablet or desktop device.
  2. It supports multi-lingual content, and is now available in both English and Chinese. More relevant languages will be added in future.
  3. The site interface, navigation and content structure have also been streamlined and improved. Some major improvements include the reduction of the number of page levels from 6 down to 3, and the total number of pages from 450 to 80.  These changes will ensure that information is concise and easy to find.

One other key highlight is the implementation of smart data visualisation, which enriches our content and help users derive insights and trends more conveniently. Market data is also close to real-time update and the data refreshes automatically without requiring the users to click to refresh.

As a multi-asset exchange, we have a wide range of website users with different needs. This new sgx.com is our first step in upgrading our customer’s digital experience. Future developments in the pipeline include segment-specific portals – such as the emerging investor portal, issuer portal, and more. These will help us in catering tailored information and services to users with different specific needs.

Yup.

New year, New site.

SGX has been working on their new site for some time actually, I rem they sent me some beta test site sometime last year. I guess being compatible with mobile devices is really important, these days, multi million dollar decisions are made on mobile huh.

So go check it out.


I’m pessimistic.

I’m not talking about investing and the stock markets, but the general business environment and the climate in SG. And specifically, for my personal businesses.

But then, here’s the kicker.

I’m always pessimistic this time of the year, when planning and doing the projections for the business for the whole year. Been like this since 2010.  And each year, I keep thinking, how are we going to match the results of the prior year.

Yet… I’ve been wrong for the past 9 years! Every year showed both revenue and profit growth yoy. And in fact, 2018 was a record year. By far.

This is a plot dot chart of the business’ monthly revenue since 2010:

815) Revenue.jpg

Maybe TA experts can tell me what they see. LOL. My interpretation… is that actually a sort of plateau is starting to form.

I guess, the past decade or so, since the GFC, has been just boom times for everyone.

Instead of celebrating though, it makes me more worried than ever. It just seems so hard. Cos if you think about it, the operating costs for businesses keeps rising every year. Without fail.

Just staff costs alone has to keep rising. Ask any salaried employee in SG. Are they happy with an increment that matches that of the previous year’s? Many are actually not. I’m not talking about no increment, I’m talking about a CONSTANT increment. Yet most of the staff I talk to, wants an increasing increment. The quantum may seem small, but think about it from the perspective of the organization.

It’s like swimming against a tide… except that the tide isn’t just a constant tide. It’s a tide that’s increasing in strength.

You see, the logical balance is that businesses must raise it’s selling costs every year. At least to match inflation right? Cos staff costs increase, rental costs increase, COGS increases. Yet, (At least in my experience) there are very few businesses that actually increase their prices every year. Maybe… only hawkers get to do that.

So most businesses increase their selling prices every couple of years, and try to increase it at a rate that it covers the inflationary costs over the previous couple of years.

At the ground level, I’m really not seeing how 2019 can match the results of 2018’s. I’m not expecting a catastrophe kinda crash or doomsday scenario… but growth is hard. It’s very hard. To achieve growth each year, you’ve to maintain what you’ve been doing… and build on it. Add something to it. Do something different. Or do it more efficiently.

Either way, it’s no status quo. It’s a constant struggle to find that something different from previous years, to provide that spark for that growth.

That’s just so tiring sometimes.


Investing wise… 2018 has been a forgettable year for TTI.

After leading the S&P and STI ETF for a large part of the year, my ROI ended up in the red for 2018, coming in at a sad -8.8%. 

That compares unfavorably with STI ETF’s -7.03% for 2018 (inclusive of dividends)

816) STI ETF 2018.jpg

Quite ironic right? I thought “8” is supposed to be huat. How come I got 2 of that and it feels so sucky?

I could’ve sworn it felt like I was ahead of the STI ETF. I guess the Nov/Dec market weakness hit the US markets much harder than SG’s, and with my now increasing exposure to US markets, my portfolio lost the lead in that last quarter.

That’s the bad news.

The good news though, and this is 1 helluva good news, is that…

I’m starting 2019 with a massive BANG.

How massive you say?

Freaking bombastically massive.

818) Account NAV.jpg

YTD, and I know it’s only been about 2 weeks into the new year, but my US stocks and options portfolio is up a massive 23.42% MWR!

817) IB returns.jpg

That blue line on the chart above is TTI’s portfolio (non SG component), and in the past 2 weeks, it’s just been absolutely killing the competition.

The other lines are benchmarks that Interactive Brokers set… I’m not sure if they can be changed but I’d just follow. 1 of them is SPX, which is the S&P index and that’s the main benchmark I use. (That’s the lime green line)

The other 2 are:

iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA) (purple line)

and

Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT) (orange line)

Consequently, NAV has increased from USD 441,055.43 at the start of 2019, to the current USD 538,555.82, with zero capital injections in this period.

That’s an increase of USD 97,500.39 to my net worth since the start of the year!

The best 1 day return was on the 4th Jan, with a massive 7.32% return in a single day.

Now, this is just the US, and mainly options, portfolio, but SG is generally up too anyway, so I’m recording this as a big win thus far.

2 weeks gone, come on, let’s keep it like this for another 50.

As mentioned in earlier posts, my global options portfolio is likely to form a larger part of my overall portfolio going forward. As of today, it forms just under 40% of the overall portfolio, and will likely keep increasing over 2019.


So that’s all I have for the 1st post in 2019.

Blog posts will prob come once in a blue moon. Don’t really feel like documenting my DD these days. It’s so long and tedious. Energy and time is scarce.

P.S. To the reader above who emailed me: See? Blog’s not dead!