Thursday, March 8, 2012

Portfolio Diversification

Click Here To Play The Video
A Small World After All
I am not a professional, and cannot tell you how to balance your portfolio, but I do want to share a couple of things.  In the video, Dale Jackson refers to geographical diversification.  I seldom buy shares of companies outside of Canada because I want to avoid exchange fees and currency fluctuations.  For companies outside of Canada and the U.S., I would rather hold a basket of companies, rather than individual stocks, so I use Exchange Traded Funds (ETF's).

Cyclical Sector Solutions
The TSX is comprised mostly of Energy, Materials, and Financial companies.  These sectors are largely cyclical in nature (fluctuate according to economic growth).  Still, we find some of the very best companies in the whole world trading on our very own TSX.  For times when economics are not in favour of cyclical companies, I buy inverse ETF's (which make money when markets decline) and/or bond ETF's.

The sector allocations shown in this video are based on the make-up of the S&P500, and not the TSX.  The underlying assumption is that we are always fully invested all of the time, so we need to weight our portfolio similar to the market in order to get market-like performance.  Studies done by people like Brooke Thackray, or the Stock Traders Almanac would suggest there is a certain seasonality to the various sectors.  Different sectors tend to outperform during different times of the year.  I seldom have all of my money invested in the markets at the same time, and I use Technical Analysis to detect which sectors are outperforming (usually based on seasonality).  There is a certain rotation I normally follow, rather than just blindly throwing money at everything in the market.

Because I am an active investor,  being overly diversified tends to make more money for my advisor in fees and commissions, while lowering my own overall return.  In my experience, one size does not necessarily fit all.

How do you allocate your portfolio?

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