The Reluctant Bull: My Portfolio

by: Old Trader

Lately, I've been thinking that there are probably more than a few readers on SA that think of me as an old, cranky "Perma-Bear". While I'm willing to concede that I may fit a fairly generally accepted definition of "old" (especially in the eyes of those under, say age 30, or so), and I admit that I can be out-spoken, and as the years have passed, I'm less likely to suffer fools gladly, and find no problem in calling a spade a spade, I bridle at the thought of being considered a "Perma-Bear".

Having said that, I started wondering, "What WOULD be an accurate an appropriate label for my investment outlook at the present time?". Considering what was in my portfolio, and why, I decided the most accurate label would be "reluctant bull".

To my way of thinking, if I truly were a "Perma-Bear", I'd be either mostly, or all in cash....or perhaps overweight cash, with exposure to various short bets...possibly a good chunk in gold/precious metals, either physical, and/or via ETFs. Does that sound about right? The fact of the matter, is that I'm definitely net long, albeit defensively postured.

I don't think the "world is coming to an end"; at least not within the next 5 years (the outer edge of my investing horizon). I'm a fan of John Mauldin, and I like, and agree with his assessment that we're in for a "muddle through" scenario for at least a few years as mistakes and miscalculations are rectified. From a "30,000 foot" perspective, I do think the dominance of the US will wane. Certainly not all at once, nor in the next week, or few months, or even in the next few years, but as things stand, I think the trend is downward...or actually, to be more accurate, the US will basically flat line, while other economies will grow.

My portfolio (position and weight) is as follows:


PVX 9.6%

MMP 6.1%

KMR 5.8%

JNJ 8.1%

UPS 7.5%

O 5.4%

GG 5.2%

FTE 4.1%

Enel Spa (ESCOF) 2%

Debt/fixed income:

GIM 31%

TEI 4.8%


SDS 4.9%

Cash 4.8%

Keep in mind that this is a retirement portfolio, designed to generate a fairly high income stream, while minimizing draw downs to preserve capital. The performance, YTD, is +25% (with reinvested dividends), while yielding 8.2%.

Full disclosure: all positions mentioned above.