2021 : Returns in the first half

2021 : Returns in the first half

Jon writes on his blog that for the most part, markets in 2021 have shown continued improvement on last year. In fact, the worst place to have money so far this year is cash. The U.S. and the broader international and emerging market indexes are positive year to date.

Investing in a world where everything seems to be working out — except “safe” bonds and cash — it can be tempting to tweak your portfolio. Why not move that money earning nothing into something much better? After the last six months, and the six months prior to that, Jon bets a lot of people are thinking exactly that. When thoughts like that pop into your head it’s always worth asking yourself a few questions.

First, am I taking enough risk to meet my goals? Building a portfolio is not an exact science. Uncertainty around the future makes that impossible. But it’s certainly plausible that some investors are taking less risk than they can handle. If you have less money in stocks than you’re comfortable with, can handle more risk and volatility, then maybe a change is warranted.

However, the alternative should also be considered. If you have more money in stocks than you’re comfortable with, reducing your exposure might be warranted. Successful investing has never been about getting the highest return this year. It’s about getting the best long-term return at risk you’re comfortable taking.

Second, am I making changes because I feel like I’m missing out? FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) sucks. It gets a lot of investors into trouble. Frankly, the returns other people and/or asset classes are earning in the market are irrelevant to what you’re trying to accomplish. If your portfolio is sound and doing what it’s set out to do, whatever is going on outside of that is a distraction. Ignore it. Far too many investors shoot themselves in the foot trying to chase returns.

Finally, it’s always good to ask what if I’m wrong? The correct answer is you lose money. Are you comfortable with that potential outcome? A sound portfolio is built with this question in mind. It also happens to be the last question anyone asks when markets are rising and everyone’s optimistic and appears to be making money. Much like today!

The heightened speculation that emerged in 2020, spilt into this year, and is ongoing. There are a lot of “brilliant” investors around more than willing to show off their quarterly gains. It’ll be interesting to see how long that lasts.

Jon concludes that when everyone’s optimistic and few think they can lose money, getting rich quick becomes the strategy du jour. Many will eventually figure out it has one tremendous downside. You lose everything. Until then hopes and dreams are driving pockets of the market for now.


For Indian Investors, it is perhaps time to look beyond the local market

Asset Class % Total returns Q1 Q2 1H 2021
India 5.18 7.01 12.55
S&P 500 US 6.17 8.55 15.25
US IT sector 1.97 11.56 13.76
US Financials 15.99 8.36 25.69
US Healthcare 3.18 8.4 11.85


Based on MSCI Index Dollar returns

Source: https://novelinvestor.com/

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