Friday, 13 December 2013

Dogged by computer glitches and the latest pull back (is it over?)

The solution to my computer problem turned out to be a one day wonder. I closed and reopened Excel several times and the missing DDE links continued to do their job. But niggling in the back of my mind was the worry that the problem would return when I closed  down and reopened my computer. And so it proved. I opened up and sat looking at a dead Excel workbook.

A whole lot of sitting and thinking deep into the night and I finally nailed it. I had decided that the problem had to be caused by a system error, not Excel. I opened up the Control panels page and looked through each item, seeking inspiration. Eventually I reached the Recovery control and it occurred to me that if I re-installed a version of the system that had been in place before my DDE problem occurred I might be lucky. I did and I was. So I was back in business.

Then this morning Sharescope, which has been at the core of my share trading for some 15 years, stopped working. That was simply solved. I called the helpline and the problem was fixed in minutes.

My portfolio

All that has left me shell-shocked. I had noticed that the market has wreaked havoc in my portfolio, day before yesterday was particularly bad. It was only yesterday and today that I have had the emotional energy to fully survey the wreckage. It is bad but not quite as bad as I first thought. Three things make me a little more confident:
  • a big part of the problem has been caused by the weakness of the Dollar and the strength of the pound, an effect that I measure but do not act upon because I assume that in the medium term it will right itself. It is beginning to do that now.
  • I have taken a hit on GVC which represents a disproportionate share of my portfolio. I have no intention of selling any time soon because of its yield and strong fundamentals. In my opinion it is a thoroughly undervalued share
  • for most of yesterday my share selection was making a good comeback in the face of anther 100 point down-day on the Dow and a 60 point down-day on the FTSE. Hope springs eternal. I have to remind myself I know how to pick shares.

For those of you who are interested my current portfolio is as follows:

  • UK shares: GVC, PLE(don't ask me why, its one of these biotech stocks that may strike it rich one day)
  • US shares: RAD. (I took profits on GTN yesterday. With yesterday's ups and downs a 20% paper profit dwindled to 16% by the time the money was in the bank. Partly because I did not jump in quickly enough, but mainly because of the broker grabbed 2% for the FX transaction (I am revisiting my decision to buy foreign shares in my ISA))
  • CHINA shares quoted on the US market CREG RDA PME CCM HTHT BIDU HMIN VIPS CSIQ BITA DL SFUN EJ DHRM (I bailed out of JKS which was badly affected by the solar technology pull back)
  • Hong Kong shares: 921 1180 35 184 1999 (I cut losses on 1001 635 and 287)
Onwards and upwards!

The market

The market is in pulling back from its highs. I am glad that my mind has been on other matters so I was not depressed by this horrid turn of events. Friday's up move, inspired by good Non Farm Payroll figures (which went up by 203000 instead of the expected 180000) proved to be a false dawn. I goes to underline the fact that the market has a mind of its own, news may have an effect but it may be short lived if the players are determined to take their profits. The lucky ones, who still have shares to sell, get the unexpected boost of a day of higher prices. 

There are signs that the market may have encountered support. 
  • Yesterday it pulled back from its lows
  • futures are looking promising today
  • the FTSE and the DAX are looking a little stronger.

On the minus side the US Dollar is strengthening which suggests a risk-off attitude is beginning to emerge. The theory runs that the Dollar moves inversely to the stock markets. When investors have an appetite for risk they buy shares, when they start to worry they sell shares and run for cover to the US Dollar. That's the theory. Reality suggests that this relationship may be weakening.

I feel cautiously optimistic despite the wreckage in my backyard.

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