Tuesday, September 04, 2007

August 2007 Report

All figures are in US Dollars unless otherwise stated. This month again saw negative investment performance in USD terms, though this was due to the sharp fall in the Australian Dollar and underlying performance was positive. Trading results were positive but volatile and spending was very high. At the end of the month I merged my finances with Snork Maiden for purposes of reporting net worth etc. The income and expenditure figures for this month are mine alone, but the final net worth figure is our joint figure. Net worth fell in US Dollar terms and rose in Australian Dollar terms post-merger. Both figures fell on a pre-merger basis.

Income and Expenditure

Expenditure was $7,959. More than half the figure was moving expenses and more than a quarter the cost of my new computer. Other expenses totalled only $1625. Yes, there is a retirement contribution ($901) there though I am no longer employed.

Non-retirement accounts lost $11,332 but would have lost only $2214 if it were not for the sharp decline in the Australian Dollar. Retirement accounts lost $4151 but would have gained $2693 if exchange rates had remained constant. Net worth declined by $23k on a pre-merger basis. At one point in the month it was down around $50k.

Net Worth Performance
Net worth fell by $US5755 to $US439,155 and in Australian Dollars gained $A20817 to $A538,576. Non-retirement accounts were at $US242k. Retirement accounts were close to $US197k.

Investment Performance
Investment return in US Dollars was -3.75% vs. a 0.23% loss in the MSCI (Gross) World Index, which I use as my overall benchmark and a 1.29% gain in the S&P 500 index. Non-retirement accounts lost 5.13%. Returns in Australian Dollars terms were 1.36% and -0.02% respectively. YTD I'm up 12.9% vs the MSCI with 8.3% and the SPX with 5.1%. My non-retirement accounts are up 17.4%. So I'm not too concerned about this month's performance, especially as we gained in Australian Dollars!

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

The returns on all the individual investments are net of foreign exchange movements. Foreign currency losses appear at the bottom of the table together with the sum of all other investment income and expenses - mainly net interest. The biggest positive contribution came from the CFS Conservative Fund which has a 30/70 equity/fixed income mix. Interactive Brokers began to rebound this month. Voltality (of the right sort) should help the stock. The investment in Hudson City Bankcorp also began to pay off as it is seen as a solid bank in a shaky environment. Something similar could be said about Berkshire Hathaway. Trades in IYR, Lehman, Toll Brothers, Beazer, and the S&P 500 made nice contributions. All three of my earnings plays (AAPL, GOOG, DELL) did not work out and neither did NDX trading this month. The quant fund meltdown resulted in a huge loss in the hedge fund of funds management company Everest, Brown and Babcock and to a lesser degree in their fund of funds EBI.AX. The latter is very undervalued at the moment.

Progress on Trading Goal.

Asset Allocation
At the end of the month the portfolio had a beta of 0.50. Allocation was 35% in "passive alpha", 63% in "beta", 4% allocated to trading, 5% to industrial stocks, 10% to liquidity, and we were borrowing 17%. My Australian Dollar exposure fell to 59% partly due to the fall in the Aussie and partly due to the merger which brought in $US17k in US Dollars. The merger also increased "liquidity". We will keep this very high level of cash through the move to Australia. We'll spend quite a lot more in the process and then reallocate our cash when things have settled down in October.

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