Monday, December 14, 2015

Hedging retirement portfolio with shorts

SHARE PRICES HAVE FALLEN VERY, VERY SHARPLY since we marked them here on Friday and as our old friend Doug Kass likes to say, “Risk happens fast.” Risk has indeed happened very fast as one major trend line after another in one market after another has been broken through materially and importantly. 

Nine of the ten markets comprising our International Index have fallen and only the market on the mainland in China has risen, with eight of those nine having fallen by more than 1% and with two of those nine having fallen by more than 1%. Our Index has lost 153 “points” since Friday or 1.6% and for the year-to-date, stocks in global terms are now down 481 “points or 4.9%, while the S&P is 48 “points” or 2.3%.

Sell into strength

On Friday we said that we were considering adding short hedges to our retirement funds in order to protect against the downside, but we failed to act; that is we did not make that an “official” recommendation and indeed we did not take any such action on our own. Clearly we should have. Clearly things were coming apart at the edges of the markets and clearly, in retrospect, we should have taken action. We’ll do so today on any minor intra-day strength that might evolve and as we write stock index futures are trading 12-13 “Big Figures” higher and that might serve as enough intra-day strength into which to sell.