Thursday, February 01, 2018

January 2018 Report

We gained for the eight straight month in a row as US stock markets went parabolic, the Australian Dollar rose, and one of our private equity investments made a big gain.

Here are our monthly accounts (in AUD):


"Current other income" consisted entirely of salaries (after tax) this month and was $17.8k. It's higher than usual because I finally got my tax refund from last year of $2.6k. Spending (not counting our mortgage) was a little on the high side at $7.8k. After deducting the mortgage payment of $4.1k (which includes implicit interest saving due to our offset account - the actual mortgage payment was about $874 less than this), we saved $6.1k on the current account and added $2.2k in housing equity. Retirement contributions were $2.9k. Net saving was, therefore, $11.1k across the board.

The Australian Dollar rose from USD 0.7813 to USD 0.8077. The ASX 200 lost 0.45%, the MSCI World Index gained 5.66%, and the S&P 500 5.73%. All these are total returns including dividends. We gained 1.11% in Australian Dollar terms and 4.53% in US Dollar terms. So, we outperformed the Australian market and underperformed international markets.

The best performer in dollar terms was IPE.AX, which is a listed private equity fund of funds, gaining $8.7k. One of their funds made a deal to sell Threatmetrix to the former Reed Elsevier group, now known as RELX. The stock, which had been languishing at around 9.9 AU cents rose to 12 cents. Management estimates that if all goes well the net value of the stock has risen to 14 cents. I have bought some more shares at 11.5 cents since the deal was announced. Is this what Ron Brierley knew when he bought into IPE? I am at around 470,000 shares and hoping to buy more as the position is only 3% of net worth :) Early in the month I sold out of Platinum Capital (PMC.AX) at prices of $2.09-$2.15 and then recently when the price fell I bought back in at $1.96-2.00. I also reopened a position in Oceania Capital Partners (OCP.AX), another private equity investment. So far, my latest trade is down. Yes, it was the worst performing investment this month, down $2.7k.

The second best performer this month was Winton Global Alpha Fund, a managed futures fund, which gained $2.8k. I'm planning to increase my holdings in it too as a hedge against equity downside. Currently, the position is $110k after investing an extra $10k. Yeah, that's only 5% of net worth. Despite the craziness of the stock market rise in the US, there isn't a strong case for a big correction. The yield curve isn't yet near inverting, the world economy seems to be doing well, and Oscar Carboni is bullish for the year :)

Private equity was the best performing asset class, up 9.6%. All asset classes gained. Australian large cap stocks gained the least at 0.1%.

House prices rose here 8.4% for the year. Given this strong rise, I have raised the value of our house adjusting the September and December 2017 accounts. The carrying value is now $840k.

As a result of all this, net worth rose AUD 30k to $2.158 million or rose USD 81k to USD 1.743 million.

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