Peter Temple's blog

ETF Portfolio: Final update

The two months since the ETF Portfolio was last updated have been what might be described a "steady as she goes" period. The market has recovered some poise, compared to the periodic bout of euro-itis with which it was afflicted last time round.

BGI odyssey ends

It is a little-known fact that the iShares powerhouse, a big player in the now well-established market for exchange traded funds, actually began life as a joint venture between US bank Wells Fargo and the Japanese investment house Nikko.

ETF Portfolio: "Suffering as defensiveness to kick in"

"Suffering as defensiveness to kick in" is about the best description that can be applied to the ETF Portfolio right now. In the past month, gold has languished, the euro has been weak, and emerging markets have continued to be under a cloud. Since these are the main areas in which the portfolio is invested, its performance has been, to say the least, pretty second-rate.

Facebook's for kids - not investors

Call me a dinosaur if you like but I really can't be bothered to set up a Facebook account. As for Twitter... don't get me started. So the news that Facebook's IPO is coming along in a couple of weeks leaves me as cold as a pickled egg.

Share consolidations are just corporate chest-beating

Announcing a stock consolidation to boost a flagging share price - as Royal Bank of Scotland has just done - has a sort of other-worldly quality to it. After all, nothing really changes. Shareholders end up with, say, a 10th the number of shares they held in a company whose share price, theoretically at least, should be 10 times its previous level.

Has the market got it right?

A lot of investors have been bearish for so long, they have forgotten how to be bulls. Or else the habit of trading, selling the FTSE 100 whenever it risks moving above 6000, is simply too ingrained a habit to be abandoned.

The wages of sin is dearth

One of the most awkward moments of my career in the city came many years ago when I asked an American fund manager why she did not invest in tobacco stocks. The reason was that her husband had recently died from smoking-induced lung cancer. There is not much you can say to that.

As a teetotal non-smoker for the last 23 years, I have no axe to grind for the cigarette companies, nor for brewers and distillers. Both were industries that I covered as an analyst for more than a decade.

ETF Portfolio: Defensive stance is dull, but what can you do?

Obstinacy seems to be the main characteristic of the ETF Portfolio at present. It stubbornly refuses to perform. One reason is perhaps the determinedly defensive stance we have pursued for the last few months. This may pay off eventually, but it is turning into quite a long wait.

Bulls**t in the China shop

A long-standing friend and former client of mine, who was a fund manager in a previous life, now lives in China. He sends me periodic bulletins about the state of the Chinese economy and stockmarket.

Do we listen to the 'fear gauge'?

You may have noticed some market commentators observing that the current low level of the VIX may imply that we are in for a new round of market panic.

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