July Investment Report
June was another very weak market leading to one of the weakest 2 months on record when combined with the huge drop in May. While most people were focused on the European debt crisis and the weakness it was leading to in US economic reports, it has become more evident then ever that China has clearly come to rule this market. During June, the Index.traded down to 2,400 some 25% below it highs in mid April. The fears of a slowdown in China has roiled the industries that this portfolio focuses on whether via mining companies in copper or met coal or even that need strong emerging market growth for higher stock prices. This presents great investment opportunities as the Chinese government can surely be relied upon to keep growth at least in the 8-9% range going forward.
Watching the China market will be key to stock market movements in the next few months. Signs that China is only pausing before taking the next step forward will likely turn the markets around. While the SP500 was swooning towards a bear market and fears are rampant of a double dip recession, global commodities like oil, copper, and coal have held up well after initial drops. Earnings growth and balance sheets of US companies are also strong suggesting that once stability returns to the economy growth could be strong for years to come providing the backdrop for significant price appreciation.
Though this portfolio was too far leveraged to an increasing market, a couple of stocks were shorted during June to provide some downside protection. Going into July the portfolio was fully leveraged to a snapback rally that is expected to be sustained. The market has become overly pessimistic even while the International Monetary Fund has upgraded global growth estimates. If a rally doesn't materialize, long positions will be discarded in favor of shorts. A repeat of 2008 is not out of the realm of possibilities, but the likelihood is very slim. Hence, this portfolio has remained very long to capture the outsized returns as multiples expand with the realization that the fears from 2008 far outweigh the realities.