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WHAT'S NEW? Our Latest Updates!

January 2003 performance review

The conservative portfolio was down 0.20% for the month of January. The standout again was the American Century International bond fund (BEGBX) up 2.87% for the month. Remember two months when we said the dollar was about to start working in the favor of international investments again? We're still considering lightening up a bit on our foreign bond positions or moving to a hedged bond fund.

January Effect

According to some January Effect proponents, January has predicted the year's returns over 90% of the time. This is why many investors are nervous these days. January ended down. If the January Effect is true, this means we have a 90% chance of losing money this year in the market.

February 2003 Trade Alert!

The newly retooled Vanguard Dividend Growth fund (VDIGX) has much lower fees than the Strong Dividend Income Fund "Z" (SDVIX) which means more if the dividend income is yours to keep. Since this model portfolio already owned the Vanguard Utilities Income fund, and that fund has converted into a dividend growth fund, we need to sell our dividend fund and replace it with another utilities fund in order to keep the same allocation to utilities and high dividend stocks.

December 2002 performance review

The conservative portfolio was up 1.14% for the month of December, but the positive action was mostly from bond funds this month. The standout was the American Century International bond fund (BEGBX) up an astounding 6.52% for the month. Remember last month when we said the dollar was about to start working in the favor of international investments again? Basically 85% of that return was the result of the US dollar falling.

Bonds Come Back

On the surface, spending money is a great way to jump-start a weak economy. Ever since the government became such a large part of the economy (can you believe we didn't even have an income tax before 1913?) government tax and spend policy (AKA fiscal policy) has been used to "manage" economic growth.

November 2002 performance review

The conservative portfolio was up 2.6% for the month of November, but the positive action was mostly from stock funds in the portfolio, currently 50% of the total after recent increases in its equity allocation. While we felt weakness in stocks have created opportunities for risk averse investors, and we were hesitant to stay in near-zero yield cash positions, we were a bit premature in these moves.

Flight to Low Quality

If you recall from the last few issues of the Powerfund Portfolios, we talked about the panic investors felt when the Dow was in the low 7,000's, and how everyone had become severely risk averse. Much money piled into "safe" government bonds, lowering yields. Recently, as the market rallied back sharply, many of these same investors forgot all the things that made them scared in the first place - corporate scandals, a weak economy, looming war and terrorist threats, and lackluster earnings (to name just a few).

October 2002 performance review

The conservative portfolio was up just under 1% for the month of October. The positive action was mostly from the portfolio's stock funds, not the larger bond position, which was flat for the month.

Market Envy

While there has been good news on some economic fronts, the sad fact is most of the activity in the markets is primarily from two forces: 1) the alternatives to stocks are bleak 2) the nagging feeling among investors that they if they don't get in now they could miss out on some action.

November 2002 Trade Alert!

Vanguard High Yield Fund (VWEHX) with proceeds of CMHYX sale.</ul> Columbia funds, which show up in three of our model portfolios because of their high quality and low fees, where snapped up by Liberty, who has been on a fund purchasing binge for some time now. Liberty is merging some of their unbelievably crummy funds into some good Columbia funds to hide the Liberty fund's miserable performance.