Taking a Few Lumps in April

My broad market portfolio did well in absolute terms in April but trailed the S&P 500 for the month by a little; I’m still leading the S&P 500 for the years by a decent margin.  Some of it boiled down to selling ABN Amro too soon, and hanging onto Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland.  I followed my ordinary valuation rules that have protected me well in the past; they will protect me well in the future as well.  You can’t win them all, but you can reduce risk.  That’s why on Monday, I trimmed my postions in Vishay Intertechnology, Valero, and Bronco Drilling.  They have run; time to trim.

Today’s action in two stocks impressed me: Liz Claiborne, and Fresh Del Monte.  One down a lot, and the other up a lot.  I have owned both in the recent past, and sold them due to over valuation and possible accounting difficulties, respectively.  This is why it’s not wise to pat yourself on the back too much when you miss a mistake by selling early, or kick yourself too hard for missing a winner by selling too soon.  These things happen, and “woulda, coulda, shoulda” just confuses matters.  No one gets out at the top and in at the bottom.  Just do your best, and follow your plan.  Nothing will ever be optimal, but things can often be very good.

Full disclosure: long VLO, VSH, BRNC, BCS, RBSPF