Sunday 29 March 2020

Putting a toe into the water

Despite the ever-worsening Covid-19 situation (things in Europe and Australia are bad and getting worse, we have yet to get any real sense of how badly the US is handling its outbreak, and almost no reliable data on most of the developing countries' situations) Wall Street and hence other stock markets such as Australia seemed to stabilise a bit late last week, with several days of market gains. So I decided to start cautiously buying back into my previous ETF positions (QUAL, VAS, VISM, CGAD, VSO and MVW) last Thursday night, starting with a small tranche ($5K) of QUAL. But the 'limit' order I initially placed for QUAL overnight didn't get filled (the price spiked higher on opening), so I had to modify the order to 'market' on Friday morning (only to see the ASX drop back in the afternoon). That used up my available credit on the Commsec ML account, so I then had to transfer some cash into the account.

I transferred $50K (borrowed on my SGB portfolio loan) into my Commsec ML account, so I'll be able to purchase several tranches of $5K in the other ETFs that are on my 'list' during the coming weeks. This may well not be the 'bottom' for this bear market, but as a 'long term' investor with (supposedly) a high risk tolerance, I have to start reinvesting at some point.

My current total investment portfolio (excluding our SMSF) is shown below:

The ASX200 is about 33% below its high of 20 Feb, and the S&P500 is about 25% below its high of 19 Feb, so making some further investments at the current levels seems reasonable when you take a long term (10+ years) view of where the market is likely to go once the Covid-19 pandemic is 'history'.

I had tried to sell my CFS GGSF, VIISF and VLHGF holdings back in early Feb (I phoned to relevant funds to redeem the units) but it turned out that because they were collateral on my margin loan accounts a phone redemption could not be processed, and a paper form needed to be printed, signed and lodged (scanned and uploaded for Colonial First State, or faxed/mailed in the case of Vanguard). I did do the paperwork to transfer our SMSF investments in the Vanguard High Growth Fund into more conservative investments, but didn't bother doing it for my SGB ML account. Having already moved our SMSF investments into more conservative options I decided to retain some market exposure (not a great decision in hindsight). In the case of my CFS geared global share fund investment on the Commsec ML account I initially was told that a phone redemption was OK, but a week later found out that a form needed to be signed, scanned and lodged. I didn't bother to proceed with that redemption, which is probably the worst decision I made back in February. My worst decision in March was probably buying some Westpac shares too soon, but that was a relatively small investment amount.

What my worst investment decision in April turns out to be is anyone's guess ;)

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