A lesson in volatility

This year to date my US-based stock portfolio is up 44%, well above the benchmark S&P500:

Yippee!

Actually – not so fast.

Last year my highly levered (lots of options) portfolio went down a stunning 66%. I got caught out selling my shorts too early (I was short Citibank amongst others) and bet on the market turning around – and it didn’t.

Now I did withdraw money along the way, so things were not so bad,  and I’ve always looked at this particular portfolio as play money. But that last quarter hurt – no doubt about that.

What really hurts is how much effort it will take to get that back. Even after the excellent performance year to date, $100 invested in my portfolio at the beginning of 2008 would be worth only $49.

Money I have with Gareth Morgan investments in the meantime has lost 13.6% since September 2006 – or 4.4% per annum. That’s a lost better return than the S&P500 and my own portfolio. My instructions to them were for a growth portfolio, and while they lost a bit initially they have toed a very conservative line since. I’d like to see a bit more Berkshire Hathaway in there though.

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
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