What to Do After A Bad Day In The Market? Nothing

What to Do After A Bad Day? by David Merkel, CFA of the Aleph Bog

I didn’t feel well today, but my broad market portfolio did better than me. I probably could not have picked a worse day to do my reshaping, but here are the results:

Sales:

  • Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited (NYSE:AHL)
  • Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings SA (NYSE:FSR)
  • Redwood Trust, Inc. (NYSE:RWT)
  • Mylan Inc (NASDAQ:MYL)
  • Lafarge S.A. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:LFRGY) (EPA:LG)

Purchases:

  • Reinsurance Group of America Inc (NYSE:RGA) (old friend, cheap price)
  • Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) (TYO:7267)

Rebalancing Buys:

  • Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO)
  • ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP)
  • Vishay Intertechnology (NYSE:VSH)

Rebalancing Sale:

  • Deerfield Capital

I’m not done. My moves today raised cash from 5% to 10%, and trimmed positions from 36 to 33. I have room for two more ideas, and am working on where to place cash. My timing of buys and sells today was good — not that that is a key competency of mine by any means.

Aside from the sale of the reinsurers, which were just cheap placeholders, the other positions were not as relatively cheap as they once were. RGA and Honda are quality companies selling at bargain prices. If I had more names like those, I would buy them all day long.

Away from my broad market portfolio, I raised my equity exposure in my mutual funds fractionally today. Time to rebalance.

PS — I can’t remember another day quite like this, where the late negative to positive move was so pronounced.

Full disclosure: long DFR RGA HMC VLO COP VSH



About the Author

David Merkel
David J. Merkel, CFA, FSA — 2010-present, I am working on setting up my own equity asset management shop, tentatively called Aleph Investments. It is possible that I might do a joint venture with someone else if we can do more together than separately. From 2008-2010, I was the Chief Economist and Director of Research of Finacorp Securities. I did a many things for Finacorp, mainly research and analysis on a wide variety of fixed income and equity securities, and trading strategies. Until 2007, I was a senior investment analyst at Hovde Capital, responsible for analysis and valuation of investment opportunities for the FIP funds, particularly of companies in the insurance industry. I also managed the internal profit sharing and charitable endowment monies of the firm. From 2003-2007, I was a leading commentator at the investment website RealMoney.com. Back in 2003, after several years of correspondence, James Cramer invited me to write for the site, and I wrote for RealMoney on equity and bond portfolio management, macroeconomics, derivatives, quantitative strategies, insurance issues, corporate governance, etc. My specialty is looking at the interlinkages in the markets in order to understand individual markets better. I no longer contribute to RealMoney; I scaled it back because my work duties have gotten larger, and I began this blog to develop a distinct voice with a wider distribution. After three-plus year of operation, I believe I have achieved that. Prior to joining Hovde in 2003, I managed corporate bonds for Dwight Asset Management. In 1998, I joined the Mount Washington Investment Group as the Mortgage Bond and Asset Liability manager after working with Provident Mutual, AIG and Pacific Standard Life. My background as a life actuary has given me a different perspective on investing. How do you earn money without taking undue risk? How do you convey ideas about investing while showing a proper level of uncertainty on the likelihood of success? How do the various markets fit together, telling us us a broader story than any single piece? These are the themes that I will deal with in this blog. I hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University. In my spare time, I take care of our eight children with my wonderful wife Ruth.