Here I am, back after an absence of 3 months, with another report.
The trading performance in the last 3 months has been poor. Banknifty trend following has been ok, but the commodity momentum trading as well as Bond Futures trend following and discretionary options has led to a net loss in the portfolio. With no gains from BankNifty trend following, and large losses in the other three segments, the last 3 months saw a loss of around 8% in the overall trading portfolio.
2018-19 has been a strange year for trend following traders. While the market has continued to make new highs, the way it gets to the new highs, 2 steps forward, 1.5 steps back has played havoc with most “fast response” strategies, and has been excellent for those strategies which respond slowly.
With Bonds, I think banks played a game for the quarter ending Mar 2018, where to make sure that had smaller MTM losses in their gilts portfolio, they forced yields down by massive buying of treasuries in the last week of March, which led to trend reversal signals. These signals promptly reversed. Unfortunately, for me, I also increased the position size at this time, which has led to a huge loss, which will take years to recover from.
With commodities, the problem was me and my lack of faith in the momentum strategy. I stopped trading the commodities after losses, and the strategies started performing again. Now I intend to follow the success of the strategies on paper before restarting.
Below is a graphical representation of my investment performance in relationship to various benchmarks. Below that is a table showing the investment returns over the last year and more for my investment account, my trading account and various market benchmarks, including indices and popular mutual fund schemes as well as a decent PMS scheme.
Since Jan 2018, the markets have given a rocky ride, especially to those portfolios which are small and midcap driven. In fact, my performance is worse than any of the benchmarks over the last 18 months and over the last 12 months. This underperformance is quite disappointing, and another couple years of that, and it will be clear that I am not cut out for the investment game and am better off investing through mutual funds or index funds.
My portfolio was down more than 15% in the last six months, a figure which is only exceeded by the SBI small and midcap fund. But overall over 18 months, there is huge outperformance of the SBI Small and Midcap Fund.
Which were the stocks which performed the worst? I think KRBL, which got enmeshed in a scandal, IDFC Bank and IDFC Ltd. which just don’t seem to recover. Other stocks which did badly include CanFin Homes, Oberoi Realty (in absolute terms, rather than percentage terms), HPCL, DCM Shriram and EID Parry. The former because of rise in oil prices, and the latter two, due to the sharp downturn in the sugar cycle.
In the 3 months since my last report, my portfolio has been standstill, where I have not added or subtracted anything or bought or sold anything new.