The mutual fund is now on schedule for a summer 2010 launch. If, after reading the blog content you might have an interest in participation, please consider reading why this blog exists.
- [Jan 2008: Reader Pledges Toward Mutual Fund Launch]
- [May 2008: Frequently Asked Questions]
- Our story in Barron's [A New Kind of Fund Manager]
- [November 2009: General Updates, Questions]
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For those who read the content of the website via email or RSS reader, you can come to the website at any time and click on 'Performance/Portfolio' tab in the menu bar to get updated positions (weekly) and performance.
I will post an update of performance versus Russell 1000 every 4 weeks; we've moved over to a new tracking this year (Investopedia.com) as the old system would not allow shorting of individual stocks, among other technical issues that often came up. Hence while the website and portfolio began in August 2007, we're starting over in terms of performance with portfolio B as of early 2009. Detailed history on latter 2007 and 2008 can be found on the above mentioned tab. Under the new tracking system, our thirteenth 4 week period is now complete. (Data is through last Friday's closing prices)
(click to enlarge)
Our yearly goal of beating the index we track against by 15% was successful in 2009 although we struggled in the last 4 week period. Neither absolute performance (making money) or relative performance (outperforming the market) were achieved in the period.
*** Long/Short Discussion below
General: Period 13 was a struggle - very little movement occurred most days, and what little there was, mostly happened in premarket or the first 15-30 minutes of the day. This only helped those positioned overnight and with a high cash position that was not us. Then the rest of the day was a lot of churn which only helps quant traders trade amongst themselves and collect rebates; while we sat blankly staring at the wall. Buying breakouts on the market overall failed in this period as it did in period 12; something that helped performance greatly in the summer and fall of 2009. With that said, no great mistakes were made - it was simply a period where the market was so range bound, and so many stocks were range bound - there were very few opportunities to exploit. We spent week 2 changing over the portfolio, culling out some smallish positions we had with bad charts, and adding an array of new names. A late day selloff on the very last day of the period (Dec 31st) pushed us from slightly positive for the period to slightly negative, which was unfortunate.
Week 1: The S&P 500 was in week 5 of the box, we began the week high in cash (75%), 21% long, 4% short. Our short exposure was mostly not real shorts but long volatility and long the US dollar; but due to market behavior we classified them as short.
- Top holding AsiaInfo Holding (ASIA) bought out a competitor right before an IPO and started the week off well, with a 25% gain, we sold half our position into that strength.
- After quite substantial drops in both gold and silver we began a very slow rebuild of the positions (that we had cut to nearly 0% exposure), but we were not willing to add more until we saw how these precious metals would react once they hit some support levels. Essentially I was adding 0.3% into both gold and silver every few days during this week.
Mid week, the S&P 500 had fallen to the very low end of its multi week/month box at which time I wrote:
Dip buyers have been rewarded non stop for 9 months straight, so we'll see if the Pavlov dog response appears again. Until the pattern blows up (and it will someday), traders will keep repeating what works - creatures of habit.
Another reminder, until we exit the box.... the longer the base, the stronger the ensuing move. I am now expecting a move of 7-10%ish on the index, one way or the other, once we leave this trading range.
And so dip buyers came back in, once more.
- TriQuint Semiconductor (TQNT) was trimmed, on a failed breakout.
- Almost all of our EnerNOC (ENOC) was sold for a 11% gain in 1 week; as it had run into resistance and I wanted to lock into gains in case it fell back.
- Closed one of our short positions - that was a long volatility position we had on iPath S&P 500 VIX Short term Futures (VXX) for a tiny gain. Our timing was perfect on this as we bought it ahead of Thanksgiving and the underlying instrument we were trying to capture, the VIX was 17% higher the day we sold. But due to the poorly designed ETF we only received 1%... very disappointing.
- Fuel Systems Solutions (FSYS) dropped 10% on news we could not find, so as it approached a support level we added exposure....
- .... which we were stopped out of the very next morning as the stop continued its free fall.
Week 2: The S&P 500 was in week 6 of the box, we remained mostly sidelined 80% cash, 17% long and the rest short but mostly pseudo sort via long dollar (UUP calls).
- Restarted stakes in 2 positions last held in 2008: Insituform Technologies (INSU) and American Superconductor (AMSC); the former water/sewage, the latter electrical grid. Both plays on even more stimulus.
- After selling down EnerNOC (ENOC) the previous week, the stock pulled back than burst back through resistance so we added exposure on the breakout.
- Stopped out of the majority of Brazilian homebuilder Gafisa (GFA).
- Discover Financial Services (DFS) only matched earnings estimates, and the stock sold off sharply post earnings, so with a broken chart we decided to exit completely.
- Began new positions in Rackspace Hosting (RAX) and Sourcefire (FIRE); the former web hosting/cloud computing; the latter internet security. Both had excellent charts.
- After dripping and drabbing back into the precious metals, we decided to sell almost all silver as it began breaking support.
- We were stopped out of most EnerNOC (ENOC), which stunk because the next day it exploded higher.
- Began a new position in Braziliam chemical maker Braskem (BAK) as the stock pulled back to a key support level.
- After cutting almost all our Fuel Systems Solutions the previous week, we closed out the last bit since we were adding so many other positions and don't want the # of portfolio holdings to be too large.
- Continuing to right size the portfolio we closed out the last of our Blackstone Group (BX) and Morgan Stanley China A Shares (CAF); we are still interested in the former as a position later in 2010.
- Covered the majority of our one true short, iShares Xinhua China 25 Short (FXI).
Week 3: Shortened holiday week (Christmas); we were still in the box to start the week but with the propensity for the market to go up during holiday weeks we thought there might be upside coming. There was... it was on almost no volume but it is what it is - the market rallied each day this week. We entered positioned 78% cash, 19% long, and 3% short - almost all of it the long dollar pseudo short which was working very well.
Week 4: Shortened holiday week (New Year's)