Trading Performance in November 2017 was on the muted side. The last three months have not been great for my trading performance, which has actually been negative, and substantially so, even though markets have been positive. Over the year, returns are a fabulous 150% on my invested capital. These large fluctuations in trading returns are a function of the trading systems I use. In fact, in November, trading the stock markets has not been that bad, but commodities have given horrendous returns, which has led to a low performance overall.
I am now trying to introduce options into the mix, and in November, I had a profitable month trading options. I have still not deployed substantial capital for options trading, but I will over a period of time.
Here is a table of my trading performance(as well as investment performance) for the month of Nov 2017, and for longer periods:
November was not a great month for markets. The Nifty actually declined slightly, while the broader indices were in the green, but just so. Portfolio investment performance was similarly muted, with the portfolio having returned just 2.77%. It has been more than a year since I started keeping track, and the overall returns for the year till Nov 2017 have been 37.66%. It seems optically great till one considers that Nov 2016 had the demonetization even and subsequent sharp fall. So comparisions are bound to be favorable. Also, one has to consider that the SBI Small and Midcap Fund returned 61.12% during the same period. So good portfolio performance, but not great.
One swallow does not make a summer, and so also 1 year does not represent a lifetime of investment returns. It gives only a snapshot of lifetime performance, and it does not say anything about the risks taken to derive the investment returns. Nor does it say anything about the future course of returns. However, as we keep up this exercise of tabulating returns, month after month, for several years, hopefully, we will be able to derive some conclusions.
In the meantime, I am sticking to my general investment style. Low churn, buy low valuations, catch falling knives when the company’s survival is not at risk. Keep a trend towards concentration.
What can say about a year’s returns? My portfolio outperformed all the indices I track, as well as the HDFC Top 200 Fund. My portfolio also outperformed the two PMS schemes by a considerable margin. And the portfolio grossly underperformed the SBI Small and Midcap Fund. It has been a great run for small and midcap stocks. However, we will see how these perform as time passes.
Here is a graph of the returns:
A table representing the same data is part of the next post, which will talk about trading returns.
October 2017 was not good for my trading activity. The market kept whipsawing between rises and falls, and though the Bank Nifty on which I primarily trade went up 4 % in the month, I suffered a considerable drawdown.
Here is a table showing my trading performance relative to other benchmarks.
As you can see, my trading performance has resulted in a nearly 25% fall in the overall return in the last 3 months, of which 14% was in October alone. I do hope the tide changes soon.
Overall though, I am still ahead of all other benchmarks for the year. This is the nature of the trend following trading game. Huge outperformance for brief periods, and then steady attrition in returns for long periods. Hopefully, it means that you come out ahead of the investment pack in the long run.
However this large volatality in trading returns makes me more and more inclined to include options strategies as part of the trading mix. i am currently engaged in developing the technical expertise to analyse and develop Options Trading Strategies. It will take a long time, perhaps as long as a year or two. But I convinced that that is the way to go.
Here I am with another edition of my investment performance. This was a month in which the market, especially, Small and Midcap Stocks went up considerably, after a relatively muted August and September.
While the markets were strong, my own stocks did only ok. IDFC and IDFC Bank continued to do poorly, while certain other stocks, like CanFin Homes, EClerx and Ajanta also did poorly. On the other hand, Oberoi Realty, which is by far my biggest holding, did fine, and so did Bajaj Finserve/ A whole host of smaller holdings, like DCM Shriram, BKT, Indiabulls Housing Finance also did well.
Overall, of all the benchmarks, my porfolio did marginally worse than the Midcap Index, and considerably worse than the SBI Small and Midcap Fund, which had a blowout performance. Otherwise, on both a monthly and yearly basis, my investment performance was marginally better than the performance of the HDFC Top 200 fund, and was considerably better than the indices as well as both the PMS schemes I own, the MOSL “Value Strategy” fund, as well as the Centrum Deep Value Fund. One must wonder why anyone should invest in these PMS’s and give managers a fee, when one can have a reasonable portfolio and do considerably better.
The Yo-Yo of markets during the month was not at all good for performance of my trading activity in September. I use mostly trend following strategies, across different time frames, and sideways markets did not do much for the returns from trading activities, and in fact, there was capital loss.
I am still up for the financial year, and quite well. But the whole situation is testing my patience now. These are the periods when stoicism is valuable as a philosophy, and I am as stoic as they come. So we will continue the same, no matter what the state of my patience.
September 2017 was a time when markets took a small pause. All indices took a small hit over the values of end-A
ugust 2017, and were even more down compared with end-July 2017. Midcaps and small caps till better than large caps.
Accordingly, my investment performance also suffered, though I still managed to eke out a postive return for the month. This is primarily due to the higher contribution of midcap and small cap stocks in my portfolio.
The SBI Small and Midcap Fund was the standout for the month, rising more than 5% in a month. So was the Centrum PMS. Both of these did better than my own investments. Centrum PMS came back to life after a nice break. The Motilal Oswal PMS continues to languish. September was also not a good month for the HDFC Top 200 fund.
Here is a graphical representation of the above. As time goes on, clearly, the men are getting separated from the boys.
And for those who prefer numbers, here is the same data in numerical format.
The market turned distinctly weak in August 2018. All the major indices fell, with the Bank Nifty falling by more than 3%. Continued FPI selling, tepid results, GST related disruptions and continued geopolitical tension was somehow contributory to the relatively tepid movement.
Except for the SBI Small and Midcap Fund, all the other benchmarks, as well as my own investment performance had a negative performance for the month.
While my investment performance continues to trail the SBI Small and Midcap Fund (this stands to reason: Small and Midcap Stocks have outperformed the Large Caps, and while portfolio is geared towards Small and Midcap Stocks, I have several large caps, like Reliance, ITC, L&T, ICICI Bank in my porfolio. Naturally, my portfolio performance is a cross between the Small Cap Performance and Large Cap Performance), it does outperform all other benchmarks.
The performance of the PMS schemes is particularly distressful. I would imagine that PMS managers should outperform my own investment performance, or those of MF managers (who charge much less). But in fact, PMS schemes have clearly underperfomed this year. Now, it may be that some manager did outperform, it does not appear so for the average of all managers. And those who do outperform, don’t seem to do it consistently over a long period.
My portfolio continues to underperform a bit because of the drag from IDFC, IDFC Bank and EClerx, which are in my top five holdings. On the other hand, outperformance by Bajaj Finserv, HPCL, amongst other stocks, allows be to clock in respectable performance.
July 2017 was a great month for my trading performance. Here is a table which shows the trading returns over the last nine months.
As can be seen, my trading activity gave a return of 59% in July 2016 alone. This was in conjunction with a rise in the bank nifty of 8.15%. However, as I kept withdrawing capital from trading and deploying it in debt, I am not clear as to what the trading capital showed be considered. In any case, trading activity for me is a business which created income, not a wealth generating activity. Hopefully, wealth will get generated through my debt, equity and real estate portfolio. So I am far more interested in the absolute returns from my trading activity.
This month, I also started trading commodities in earnest. The total capital set aside for commodities is still a fraction of the total for the Bank Nifty. Hopefully, over a period of time, this shall rise.
Currently, I am trading Crude/Natural Gas, Gold/Silver, Zinc/Copper. I feel that trading a basket of instruments shall improve the stability of my trading performance. However, I am still not confident of increasing the position size of the commodity basket. Over a period of time, I shall slowly increase this.
Below is my trading equity curve till July 2017.
What about drawdown? Well, in July 2016, there were several days where the trading equity was at the maximum, and there was no drawdown at all.
Here is the drawdown:
All in all, a very satisfying performance in trading activity in July 2017.
Below is a graphical representation of my investing performance upto July 2017. Further below is a table of returns.
First, some housekeeping. You will notice that this graph is different from earlier ones, where I had also mentioned my trading performance. The reason for this change is simple. The trading performance in July was simply crazy. So if this line is also added to the above graph, then the range on the axis changes in such a manner that there is no possibility of distinguishing between the various investment benchmarks. In addition, there is difficulty in understanding what the exact trading capital is. As a result, it is best to look at trading and investing performance separately, and maybe, once a year or so, revisit a comparison. In any case, below, I also present a table which details the returns on trading along with investing benchmarks.
As can be seen from the graph above, and the table below, the trend established earlier still continues. The mutual funds outperform my investment performance, which outperforms the PMS schemes from Motilal Oswal and Centrum. All of them outperform index benchmarks, except the Bank Nifty Index.
My investment performance continues to be marred by underperformance of my biggest holdings-IDFC, IDFC Bank and Oberoi Realty. On the other hand, Bajaj Finserv continues to outperform, as to other stocks like Indiabulls Housing Finance.
In July, I also converted about 4% of my portfolio to cash. I also made a concerted effort to pare down the number of stocks in my portfolio (from around 100 to around 75). I will continue this exercise of bringing down the portfolio size to around 30-40 stocks over the next one year. Among my larger holdings, I have completely exited Muthoot Capital Services (and have partially switched to Muthoot Finance), Munjal Auto (and partially added to Munjal Showa), Alkyl Amines and Bayer Cropsciences (and have partially switched to PI Industries and also added Tata Chemicals). I have further exited IL & FS Investment Managers. I have also exited Tata Steel (and switched to Vedanta and Tata Investment Corportation). I have exited Sobha Developers and added to NESCO. I have exited Vardhman Acrylics and added to Vardhman Textiles. I have also exited JP infratech and JP Power and added to Jain Irrigation. I have further added to IRB infra and Pokarna. I continue to slowly accumulate Pharma Stocks (Sun and Dr Reddy’s). I have completely exited my small positions in Hindalco, EIH, IL&FS Transportation Networks, Federal Bank, Laxmi Vilas Bank. Finally, I have finally exited MPS ( a large holding) and added to EClerx.
All of these switches have been done more to reduce the number of stocks I want to track, than any fundamental reasons. In some instances (like MPS), I did not like the business prospects. In some cases (Bayer or Munjal Auto), I just felt that the price had run ahead of the business.
Here is a table of my investment returns compared with various other benchmarks.
“Every job looks easy when you’re not the one doing it” -Jeff Immelt, shortly after stepping down as CEO of GE after 17 years
“Obviously you don’t make money if you’re wrong. What most people don’t realize is that you don’t make money if you’re right in consensus. Returns [or alpha] get arbitraged away. The only way you make money is by being right in non-consensus. Which is really hard.”-Former Benchmark Capital Partner Andy Rachleff