To be honest, it hasn’t been very exciting on the portfolio front. Markets have been trading sideways for a while, apart from the mega caps like Apple and Amazon. Nvidia and AMD had a good run too, but are pulling back now.

Something that bothers me is that growth stock have been pummeled despite interest rates reaching new lows. Didn’t the media tell us that interest rates increasing were bad for growth stocks? Shouldn’t lower interest rates be good then? I never believed that narrative in the first place, but at least be consistent. It can’t be that growth stocks do badly when interest rates are high and low.

The environment feels much less exuberant than where we were in 2020 and things looked much worse. With the huge gains of 2020, I’m wondering if 2021 and 2022 will be a move back to the average aka correction. Even with the delta variant keeping us at home even longer than expected, it doesn’t seem like the growth and stay-at-home stocks are going to run. The mood is totally different despite a similar environment.

Personally I would be cautious going forward. There are only a few opportunities I see around. I’ve mentioned how I thought Chinese bonds offered a significantly higher yield while still being a relatively safe investment. China tech stocks also seem to be cheap, but its risky. Can’t tell how much more punishment will come, and the Chinese government is willing to play hard ball. Long-term wise, can’t seem to lose, but the short-term might be incredibly painful.

On the growth stocks front (Palantir, Nio, Lemonade, etc), they seem cheaper but not compellingly so. I did pick up 300 shares of Palantir at $21.47 on Friday night. It’s a decent entry point, but below $20 might have been safer. With the amount of growth stocks I already own, I would be hesitant about picking up more, and I would prefer to sell and lighten my load.

I feel I missed an opportunity to cash out in June. My own worry is that the market is going to bleed slowly for the foreseeable future. To me, it’s much worse than sudden drops, because sudden drops bounce back quickly. But slow bleeds are frustrating and make things feel like they are never coming back.

I have tried to build up new credit lines while waiting. My credit line at my current bank is exhausted, and they want to “see” another $150,000 to extend more. Another benefit I wanted to find was to see if I can pledge all my U.S shares and refinance a better margin rate than my current of ~2.5%. U.S shares take up the bulk of my net-worth and it would be great if I could work out a better deal.

So I went around asking various banks about starting a new privileged banking relationship with them, trying Citigold, OCBC, and DBS.

However, they all wanted cash instead of shares. My feel is that they have a ton of new clients, and don’t appear to be as keen to take on new people. They only want to invest using their own networks and not just earn on interest rates. Probably understandable since they need the sales fee. OCBC didn’t have equity trading and seemed backward in their technology and platforms. I would go with Citigold as their rates were reasonable and they are a big global bank.

DBS overall was the worst deal as they needed at least $350,000 to start and their spread is at 1.25%, the highest I’ve seen. I can’t see why people would join them now. When I asked DBS why I should choose them, they said for their deep investment insights by their team. I stifled a laugh. Usually their opinions (and other ‘expert’ advisors) are not worth the paper they are on.

Summary

16 June 202117 July 2021
Stocks$1,001,900$1,045,000
Fixed Income$320,000$320,000
Cash $10,000$10,000
Margin $241,000$255,000
Total $1,091,000$1,117,440
Gain from previous month$106,000$26,440

Net-worth increased a little by $26,440 this month. It looked much better just a week ago, and I was hoping to shoot past $1.2 mil. Looks like I have to be a bit more patient.

Have a good weekend! I have a staycation at the Four Seasons! Personally, I think staycations aren’t ideal. I prefer being in my much bigger home, instead of being in a smaller room that costs hundreds more. But not much choice, and wife wants it. Hope to at least enjoy the pool and facilities, and let the kid run around.

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