Report on Q4 2023

Report on Q4 2023

10 Jan 2024

In Q4, the world appeared to be in a geopolitical crisis. Hamas attacked Israel on 7 October provoking a (predictable?) response that continues. The Ukraine war seems to be stuck in a stalemate about which the major talking point is whether non-combatant powers will provide enough funding to keep it going, seemingly without limit. And the US, now in election year, is mired in “lawfare” with every legal resource imaginable employed to stop the frontrunner from running. 

Add in an anarcho-capitalist president of Argentina and a brazen attempt by Venezuela to seize oil reserves from poor Guyana and you have what many unimaginative people would no doubt call a ”perfect storm”.

The response of first world asset markets was to turn in a very decent quarter.

Government bond markets appeared to decide that the peak in yields was behind them, aided by some reassuring inflation numbers.  The US Treasury 10 yr yield fell from 4.7% to 4.0%,  the German Bund from 2.9% to 2.05% and gilts performed best of all, with the 10 year yield down by 100 basis points to around 3.6%. 

The FTSE 100 turned in a fairly limp 1.4% gain in the quarter but the FTSE 250 shone with +7.4%. 

I have no predictions save to say that those hoping to have their problems solved by AI will probably be disappointed. I call it Artificial Ignorance because no rational human would be that stupid. 

Finally, a mention of the legendary investor Charlie Munger. He was fond of advising people to read history and to learn from it, which is perhaps easy to say when you’re 99. My favourite quote came in an interview with Becky Quick he gave two or three weeks before he died. She asked him what it was like to be 99. His answer was he regretted that he didn’t have the strength he had enjoyed when he was 96. Bummer.

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