Cabana’s seven portfolios range from “Conservative” to “Aggressive” and include an income strategy and an “Accumulator” portfolio. Performance below is as of market close on July 2, 2018 and is presented net of maximum advisory fees and commissions (2%).
The Cabana Portfolios were mixed for the week, each ending essentially flat. The Alpha Income was down 0.31%, while the Conservative had a small gain of 0.02%. Other portfolios finished somewhere in between.
Given that we are now halfway through 2018, I believe it is worth reflecting on what has certainly been a crazy year for investors. We have seen volatility return with a vengeance to the stock market, threats of trade war with our long-term allies as well as China, a remarkable surge in interest rates at the short end of the yield curve in response to our Federal Reserve raising rates and ending its quantitative easing (bond buying) program, and the most unpredictable political environment of my lifetime. We are now friends with Russia and North Korea while at odds with Canada and Europe. So, where does this leave us as investors? Markets have continued to do what they always do, which is assimilate and process information that might ultimately affect the things that matter – like earnings and interest rates. Markets are incredibly good at weeding out hysteria and irrelevant activities. The result is a constant repricing of assets, seeking the best return relative to risk. Today equity assets in the U.S. are flat for the year and outperforming bonds, but not by much. We have seen the dollar continue to strengthen as a result of higher interest rates domestically, coupled with strong earnings by U.S. companies. Foreign stocks have suffered in the face of the rising dollar. Emerging markets (China) have sold off precipitously and are now in bear market territory for the year. The threat of trade tariffs has certainly been a factor in this.
The Cabana Portfolios are by design all asset and hold international assets throughout the economic cycle. This has been a headwind throughout the first half of the year, just as they provided a boost last year. All in all, we have weathered several significant financial storms this year and remain unscathed. I am hopeful that earnings continue upward and that our leaders can get out of their own way policy-wise and let strong fundamental economic conditions run. This would allow prospects for long term growth to resume and yield premium to return to the long end of the yield curve. This could be a very good thing for banks who control our access to capital. When the banking sector leads, it is generally good for the market. Finally, it is worth noting that the current interest rate situation is nearing an inversion of the yield curve, whereby short term rates are greater than long term rates. This is a disincentive for lending and almost always leads to a recession. We need to turn our current situation around for this bull market to continue. The underpinnings are there for a positive second half of the year but we are going to need some quiet time to focus on all that is good rather than constantly jumping from one potential fire to the next. We remain moderately bullish.
Everyone have a great and safe 4th of July! Take some time to appreciate your friends and family, as well as all the people who sacrificed so much for this great country that we live in. It is not always perfect, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Year-to-date net-of-fees performance:
ALPHA INCOME: -0.79%
-G. Chadd Mason
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