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February 2015 Performance Review

What the interest rate gods giveth in January, they taketh away in February. The S&P rebounded to new highs, and we're even breaking through Nasdaq 5,000 again—just like we did in March, 2000! The reality of fabulous tech earnings growth finally caught up with NASDAQ prices of 15 years ago. 

January 2015 Performance Review

So far, so good. 2015 is off to a nice start. At least for us. The S&P 500 was down 3% while both of our portfolios were up just over 2%. That's a 5% performance gap, and it's only been four weeks.

December 2014 Performance Review

Another year is in the can, and what a year it was. On the surface, 2014 was a great one: the economy ended on a high note and the U.S. stock market shook off a late-year slide to post a 13.51% 12-month return. This on top of the bond market's near 6% gain (and 2014 was supposed to be the year of the great bond collapse). How could an investor perform poorly in such an environment? All too easily, it turns out.

Commodity Collapse

We’ve learned something in 2014. Commodity investing is dead. Long live the information economy. Oh, real assets, we hardly knew ye!

November 2014 Performance Review

The U.S. stock market, fueled at least partially by (what now seems like) permanently low interest rates and a lack of investment opportunity abroad, is on to new highs again. The strange thing is that oil is plunging, non-U.S. economies are weak, and recent Black Friday sales were lackluster. You'd almost think we were in another global recession. 

Watch Out For Winners and Bill Gross Wannabes

Using past performance to pick your investments doesn’t usually work. You’ve heard this all before. It’s not a guarantee of future returns, yada, yada, yada…But what's a poor investor who still believes in the virtues of good old-fashioned stock and bond picking supposed to do? Choose funds with bad returns?

October 2014 Performance Review

And poof it was gone. So much for our stock market correction, which abruptly reversed course a mere month after its start and before it became a 10% "correction" (at least for U.S. stocks). The recovery was slightly faster than the drop, and as of now has taken the stock market a tad higher than the previous peak of September 18th. 

How We Doin' Mini-Crash Edition

Although this latest slide, which started about a month ago in mid-September, isn’t that big of a deal in percentage terms for the U.S. market, both the speed of the drop as well as bigger drops in hot growth stocks are scaring investors lulled into a false sense of security by a market with few down interruptions in recent years.

September 2014 Performance Review

September was a down month all around, except for those who are aggressively shorting. Although we are doing a little of that in our Aggressive portfolio, our modest short allocation didn't generate enough upside to make up for the dual slides in bonds and stocks. 

Trade Alert

Today we sold our two PIMCO funds in our Conservative portfolio (and the majority of our PIMCO fund holdings in our client accounts) and moved into Vanguard Mortgage-Backed Securities ETF (VMBS).