Sunday, April 02, 2006

Portfolio March 2006

My portfolio put in a solid performance last month, again powered by precious metal and energy stocks, particularly near the end of the month. The actively managed accounts gained 5.38%, bringing the total from Jan 11 to 11.85%. Economies in Japan and Germany are on the upswing; the other European burses are higher weighted in miners and energy companies than the S&P, all contributing to a 2.12% gain in the asset allocation accounts, bringing the total from Jan 11 to 4.10%. By any measure, these are fantastic gains in a quarter (without some of the best days in the beginning of the year at that!) and I believe they are the exception rather than the rule. The table below summarizes the returns as well as those from certain index ETFs for comparison. You can see I’m not doing too badly against the benchmarks.
Click to see a larger version in a new window.

The withdrawal from the actively managed accounts was a result of reclassifying one of my IRAs containing PCRDX to the asset allocation category. The rather large net contribution was a consequence of my bonus, my wife’s IRA contribution and some extra 401(k) contributions that took place last month. At any rate, the returns are calculated net of contributions (details here). In fact, any contribution not immediately deployed reduces the portfolio return in a positive month. In mutual funds, this is known as the “cash drag”. Detailed positions as well as the sector break down at the end of the month are shown in the tables below.

Purchases made this month include two bear market funds (BEARX, URPIX), and two large cap base metal miners: BHP Biliton (BHP) and Inco (N). I have discussed my bearish stance elsewhere so I will not repeat them here. They were purchased to plug the hole in my allocation for non-PM commodity stocks. One benefit of writing this blog is that I cannot be so cavalier with my own allocation targets! The miners were intended as long term holds.

Sales this month consist of partial positions in two silver stocks, Silver Wheaton (SLW) and Mines Management (MGN), before Silver took off last week. The timing was poor in retrospect but the gains were still appreciated. Unless the HUI (Amex gold bugs index) asserts itself strongly above the 350 level I’m not planning on anything further in this sector.

The short in IYR (iShares REIT index) was covered with a small loss while another short in BZH (Beazer Homes USA, a home builder) was initiated. I discussed the housing situation briefly in this post as a macro justification for the short. So far it is working for me.

None of the above is intended as investment advice. I have disclosed buy and sell decisions in the past, but there is no guarantee I will continue to do so in the future. While the above information is believed to be accurate, mistakes can and do occur. The responsibility for any investment decisions you make are yours and yours alone.