June 2016 Investor Letter

Strategy Performance

Investment Philosophy and Approach

The Active Asset Allocator investment strategy is designed to deliver a consistent level of positive returns over time with a strong focus on capital preservation. I follow a multi-asset investment approach, actively allocating between global equities, bonds, precious metals, currencies and cash. I always invest with the primary trend of the market and do not follow a benchmark. Instead, I manage the market risk for clients. This strategy has returned +11% per annum net of fees since inception with a lower level of risk than the average multi-asset fund. My active asset allocation approach is best illustrated in the following chart.

 
 

Gold Trader and Gold PowerTrader focus on capturing the strongest and weakest parts of gold's daily cycles, buying daily cycle lows, selling daily cycle highs and holding for 10-15 trading days, depending on the cycle count. This approach allows me to effectively manage risk. The strategy aims to capture +5% to 6% profit per trade while risking 2% each time and has a win rate in excess of 70%

Executive Summary

Chaotic trading overnight following the UK referendum decision to leave the EU is feeding through to US markets this afternoon. The Active Asset Allocator is earning its stripes today with an 80% allocation to bonds, cash and gold. Gold rallied +$100 overnight. For equities, buying the dip works in a bull market. However, we may now have transitioned from bull to bear, so I continue to advise caution here and avoid the temptation to catch a falling knife.

Stock Market Update

The results of the Brexit Referendum are in and the UK has voted to leave the European Union, leading to chaotic trading overnight. Equity and currency markets have experienced dramatic declines as investors scramble to re-position portfolios. A LOT of capital is invested in equity exchange traded funds (ETF's) that trade in Europe and in the United States and I expect additional waves of selling this afternoon once the NYSE opens for business. The Active Asset Allocator is earning its stripes today and benefiting from the heightened market turmoil with an 80% allocation to safe haven assets. Gold rallied +$100 overnight.

The FTSE All World Index, the global equity benchmark, fell -4% this morning. The decline is barely visible on the chart. Suffice to say, there is plenty of room for additional selling. Buying the dip works in a bull market. However, we may now have transitioned from bull to bear, so I continue to advise caution here. The relative strength of the stock market rally in recent weeks is now deteriorating as measured by the relative strength index (RSI) in the top section of the chart below, while price has been unable to break out to new highs. My own technical studies, which turned bullish in April 2016, have also deteriorated in recent weeks. If stocks turn lower from here, my Technical Trend Indicator (TTI) will trigger another 'Sell' signal shortly.

 
 

Volatility is accelerating higher just when the stock market appears to be running out of steam. The Vix Index jumped from 14 to 22 over the last four weeks (this chart does not include this morning's surge in volatility). Investors are getting nervous, tension is rising and speculators are starting to pay up for portfolio insurance. Volatility spikes go hand in hand with stock market corrections and another may be just around the corner.

 
 

Sterling rallied +4% versus the euro in the run up to the Brexit vote but has given it all back and more today. The longer-term trend remains down for GBP versus EUR and I expect we will see £0.90/€1.00 later this year.

 
 

I am more focused on the outlook for the US dollar than sterling over the next three to five years. The USD is the world's reserve currency and large moves in USD have significant implications for the performance of global equity, bond and commodity markets. I continue to believe that the trade-weighted USD Index has put in a medium-term top and will trend lower over time. 

 
 

For more information on my stock market analysis, please get in touch. You can reach me at brian@secureinvestments.ie or at 086 821 5911.

Bond Market Update

 
 

Despite an increasing percentage trading at negative yields, government bonds continue to attract capital as part of the flight-to-safety trade. And why not? The ECB is buying EU government bonds at a rate of €80 billion per month and is actually set to run out of bonds to buy under the current programme in less than two years (and in one year's time for German bunds). As long as the ECB stands as the buyer of last resort, yields will continue to compress. Potential fractures to the Union will place increasing pressure on ECB President Mario Draghi and we my begin to see bond yields rise in the weaker Eurozone peripheral countries, but for now, the bull market lives on.

For more information on my bond market analysis, please get in touch. You can reach me at brian@secureinvestments.ie or 086 821 5911.

Gold Market Update

It's a bull market folks. There is nothing to do but sit tight and avoid getting shaken out of your position. I received 20 different updates from investment managers this morning on Brexit, the potential risks and advice for investors. Not a single one mentions gold as a suitable investment. That will change, probably at much higher precious metals prices. In the meantime, the Active Asset Allocator is well positioned to take advantage of what I expect will be a very powerful bull market over the next 3-5 years.

 
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For more information on my gold market analysis, please get in touch. You can reach me at brian@secureinvestments.ie or 086 821 5911.