Monday, June 02, 2008

May 2008 Report

A good month, though returns were not as spectacular as in April. Mid month, investment returns were more than double what they were by the end of the month following a pullback in the markets. In the chart, month's above the red line have risk adjusted excess returns, while those above the blue line have above average risk adjusted returns:

The gap between the blue and red lines is alpha. May had returns that are typical of good months.

But we are on track to meeting all our annual goals, which are assessed in the first part of this report. Other statistics appear towards the end of the report. All amounts are in U.S. Dollars unless otherwise stated.

1. Net Worth Goal: Reaching $500k We made progress on this goal as net worth rose by $17.7k to $482.3k and in Australian Dollars rose $A11.7k to $A505k. USD results were again boosted by the continued rise in the Australian Dollar.

2. Alpha Goal: Alpha of 8.5% The point of this goal is to earn at least an average wage from risk-adjusted excess returns. Using my preferred time-series method our returns had a beta of 0.85 and an alpha of 10.0% with respect to the MSCI World index, which meets our annual goal. The risk adjusted excess return for May based on this analysis was 1.71%. Multiplying this by net worth gives an income of $8,090. For the year so far the risk-adjusted excess return in dollar terms has been $26,222. Using the estimate of alpha the smoothed annual income is $47,303. In Australian Dollars terms returns are somewhat lower, while they are higher using the S&P 500 as a benchmark.

3. Increasing Non-Retirement Net Worth by More than the MSCI Index The point of this goal is to make sure that we only spend out of non-investment income and excess returns and don't use the normal market return on investments to fund spending. In other words, this makes sure we have positive saving. Non-retirement accounts rose by 5.02%, while the MSCI index rose by 1.68%. So far this year these accounts have grown by 6.51% in excess of the MSCI return.

4. Achieving Break-Even on U.S. Taxable Accounts This goal was achieved. At the end of the month we were $751 above the breakeven point with a gain of $1,311 for the month. The rate of return on these accounts was 1.87%.

5. Make at Least $15,000 from Trading Realised gains this month were $1,586 and so far this year $3,584. I've now had four positive months in a row, which is a record. Earlier today I raised the annual trading goal to $15,000.

Background Statistics

Income and Expenditure

Expenditure was $3,472 in line with recent numbers. Spending included $76 of implicit car expenses - interest only as the car didn't depreciate this month according to RedBook. In addition to her ordinary pay Snork Maiden received her IRS tax refund and stimulus check and Moom was paid a small consulting fee, which raised non-investment income to $6,225.

Non-retirement accounts gained $9,091 with the rise in the Australian Dollar contributing $1,969. Retirement accounts gained $5,613 but would have gained only $3,319 without the change in exchange rates.

Investment Performance

Investment return in US Dollars was 7.75% vs. a 5.65% gain in the MSCI (Gross) All Country World Index, which I use as my overall benchmark and a 4.87% in the S&P 500 total return index. Returns in Australian Dollars and currency neutral terms were 4.47% and 5.21% respectively. So far this year we have gained 2.58%, while the MSCI and S&P 500 have lost 4.04% and 5.03%, respectively.

The contributions of the different investments and trades are as follows:

The returns on all the individual investments are net of foreign exchange movements. Again the biggest gain was in the CFS Geared Share Fund which is our biggest investment. Australian listed fund of hedge funds Everest Brown and Babcock continued to recover from a steep discount to book value but my other "deep value" Australian investments showed little movement or like Challenger Infrastructure and Clime Capital, declined.

Asset Allocation

Allocation was 41% in "passive alpha", 71% in "beta", 3% allocated to trading, 6% to industrial stocks, 3% to liquidity, 3% to other assets and we were borrowing 27%. Our currency exposures were roughly 56% Australian Dollar, 21% US Dollar, and 23% Other and Global. In terms of asset classes, the distribution was:

Due to the use of leveraged funds, our actual exposure to stocks was 118% of net worth. I slightly trimmed exposure to stocks as the market rose while increasing exposures to bonds and alternative assets by a little more, resulting in an increase in borrowing. Cash also increased, mainly due to setting up a new trading account with City Index.

No comments: