In the first two posts of this series, I highlighted my thought process in basically the recent past and present. Today will attempt to bring the investment landscape of the future into focus. I will be the first to admit that I have a jaded view of the present – i.e., not being aligned with the economic views espoused by the current administration. The upcoming midterms have the ability to shuffle the deck even further. The assumption set I used (which easily could be argued with) is:
- The current administration will continue to be embattled by prior missteps – primarily in vetting – (resulting continuing indictments and guilty pleas)
- This could be further hampered by loss of one – or both – chambers of Congress
- I (currently) anticipate no major activity regarding impeachment, 25th amendment or resignation
Basically a recipe for gridlock – which will put the brakes on some of Trump’s more polarizing policies. Without a Democratic landslide, I don’t see a major rollback but also don’t see further continuation on a partisan path. Therefore my view is a continuation of trade tensions (notably Canada and China), rising deficits and interest rates resulting in a slowdown in the US economy. While the economy is currently growing, the metrics I am watching are debt levels (student loan and state government), the inability of rising wages to keep pace with inflation and savings rate. Though the concerns are endless, a greater domestic focus tends to mitigate much of the risk but bring me to one conclusion: Regular Americans’ disposable income may be in shorter supply next year.
With this theory outlined, it’s time to fit the remaining pieces into my puzzle of a portfolio which allows for roughly 1/3rd allocation to conservative speculation. Frankly, my outlook is a bet that the US economy has been front-loaded into the midterm elections. The downside if incorrect is that I’ve added some slower growth positions. If correct I’ve generated a little alpha.
In the spirit of the times, I completed the move of my Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Church & Dwight (CHD) positions to M1 Finance. I plan to add Colgate (CL) as a new position in the near future. With M1 being a no-fee broker, my intention is to add new funds whenever I purchase toothpaste, mouthwash or deodorant throughout 2019 with the aim for these companies to attain about 2%, 3% and 1% of the portfolio respectively.
I intend to ride the M&A wave in addition to selected spinoffs. I rarely participate in IPOs but do make an exception from time to time. I continue to add to my banks that have completed two-step conversions. This month has seen activity in this area as follows:
- added to GBNK and sold IBTX locking in a total gain of 46.4% (16.3% annual return). Assuming their merger with GBNK completes I’ll be assigned more shares of IBTX than I previously had.
- added to SHPG as they received another approval in their merger.
- Initiated a post-IPO position (from the 30 day over-allotment period) in Amalgamated Bank (AMAL). This due to their intention to initiate a dividend next quarter.
Yes, there are times when I’m underwater on some investments, most of these being holdings of less than 1%. It would be a fair assessment that something was amiss in my initial analysis as several of these are foreign caught in the cross hairs of the strong US dollar. One reason I tend to scale in to investments is to take advantage of opportunities to average down when my original premise remains intact. These tend to be intermittent purchases.
There, in three parts, is my strategy going into 2019. As my dividend goals for 2018 are close to being met, I am now starting the realignment process so I’ll be hitting the new year with a running start.
I’d love to hear your thoughts the processes you use!