It’s been about a year since I launched my blog, Moe-Knows.com. It started out from a business associate and client who suggested that I showcase some of my views shared privately in client roundtables with a wider audience and evolved into the Moe-Knows you know today.
Along the way, I rediscovered old friends and colleagues who found a way to reconnect, and it has been a truly enlightening and fulfilling journey for me. Moe Knows started out as a cathartic exercise for me. I was concerned that my views were being expressed in an echo chamber and I was keen to open them out to a wider subset of perspectives and views. The engagement has been great, some agreeing and complimentary, some disagreeing but always constructively critical.
This has become a key part of refining my own views. As you may be aware, Moe-Knows is about a journey to wisdom and in communicating with all of you, I have found myself better for it! Thank you.
I also started a collaborative project with The Finance Ghost called Magic Markets. It has been an exciting ride and one that expanded from a hobby where two friends would chat about markets, to a top-rated investment podcast in South Africa and beyond. We are very proud of what we have created and are grateful to our thousands of loyal and regular listeners!
As part of our own journey of democratizing markets, we are also excited to have just launched Magic Markets Premium which aims to bring institutional level insights to every investor at the super affordable price of R 99 p.m. At under $8, we feel that the value proposition is a strong one. Don’t ask us. Ask some of our satisfied subscribers!
But, if you want to see for yourself, we have temporarily opened up one of our premium shows for you to take a peak behind the paywall and see the level of detail and quality of content you will get. It’s only open for the next 48 hours (we posted it on Twitter yesterday for 72 hours), so go and have a look and we hope its enough to convince you to join us inside the paywall.
But enough about Moe-Knows and my journey over the last 12 months. What about markets?
Well, in this time, we covered a whole host of topics, some highlighted below:
COVID and personal losses
China, growth, debt and crises
Some of its topical and time sensitive. Most of it isn’t and its really orientated at unpacking concepts! It’s all there. And you can search for it on the site. That’s the beauty of a blog and the internet. Its online and there is nowhere to hide.
So what’s worked out and what hasn’t?
It’s been an extraordinary year! I was a little too risk averse in my asset allocation but acknowledged this to readers upfront. Everyone’s risk appetite and budget is different and mine skews conservatively. I kept a healthy exposure to equities but not as high as historically. In a year with record markets, it boils down to an opportunity cost to sleep easy at night. A trade off I was and am happy with.
My call on the ZAR around fair value in the R15.00 range about a year ago was one I was happy with. It got properly stronger. I maintain a hard currency bias and view moves lower in the USDZAR as opportunistic. On this point, I probably owe readers a redux of the numbers before the year is out, but stronger commodities and a lower yield differential have been welcome ZAR tailwinds during the year!
China has been interesting. Ok, it has cost me some money this year as I am not a China bear, but the trends in the market coupled with some surprising policy moves of late, have been expensive school fees and have detracted from gains elsewhere. I still buy the macro thesis on China as a high opportunity market but I need to refine my own thinking on how I play the Chinese exposure.
ESG is a key theme. I would be lying if I said I didn’t invest in the oil sector or in polluting industries. But I do take notice about what companies are doing in this space. I think that in the longer term, fortune will favour companies who are more responsible and operate sustainably but I also don’t subscribe to excluding entire sectors and prefer a ‘best of class’ strategy here. I’ve made money on oil majors but arguably cut exposure too soon too, leaving some money on the table.
Crypto has been an exciting space. We spoke to the Future Forex guys about the arbitrage that exists in places like South Africa. But in aggregate, I think the crypto space is still in its infancy. I don’t buy the lunacy of some fanatics and meme coins. But in principle, I believe that crypto is here to stay. Whether you choose to trade it or HODL, the world is moving in that direction. I wrote about central banks and central bank digital currencies too. Brace yourselves, we are entering the Metaverse!
Speaking of which, the gamification of markets has become a theme. But so has investing on ‘personalities’ as the recent obsession with Elon Musk and Cathie Wood illustrates. And despite our best intents and disciplines, we may not be immune. Early in the year, I found a disturbingly large portion of my portfolio invested in stocks I didn’t REALLY understand just because of FOMO. I cut those. Some made me money, some didn’t and in aggregate I was better off introducing a renewed discipline in my own thinking and execution.
Lastly, an unresolved point as we stand at this junction in markets. I have been in the transitory inflation camp merely on a technical point. Inflation as it is defined is a rate of change. For inflation to be persistent, prices need to keep escalating. I don’t think we get that. I do think that the price increases currently baked into the system in absolute terms are sticky and are here to stay. That said, I would like to think that policy makers will do their damnedest to ensure that the apple cart is not upset and world economy derailed in the process. Let’s see how it plays out.
For those just discovering Moe-Knows, we hope you enjoy the content. There’s tons in the archive and I invite you to explore it…
For our loyal readers, its impossible to read everything but we hope that the outline above helps highlight some topics you may have missed.
We are all on this journey of life long learning. I look forward to continuing to explore new and old topics with you. I have entire ecosystems of blind spots especially in the ‘new era’ of NFT’s and the virtual revolution. I’m not sure how or where it lands but it will be a fascinating journey.
I hope you enjoy it and derive value as much as I do and feel free to spread the word!