Friday File: Benchmarked Returns, Some Clunker Updates, and Coinbase

Checking out recently weak MILE, WRAP and INTZ... plus a little buying, some updates on crypto investment valuations, and much more...

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, April 16, 2021


I thought I’d start with a “benchmarked returns” question, since a couple readers have asked recently how the Real Money Portfolio’s returns compare to the broader market.

In general, I have usually done a little better than the US stock averages (I use the S&P 500, just for convenience), but sometimes I’ve done a little worse. The variance is not usually very dramatic in any given period… but 2020 was an exceptional year, and it sent the entire portfolio into very strong outperformance (in 2021 so far, as payback, the portfolio has trailed the overall market).

I haven’t ever added those relative performance numbers to the portfolio that I share with you, mostly because it’s a huge pain to get that data for positions that I’ve built over decades (I’ve bought Berkshire Hathaway shares about 25 times since 2005, for example), but I do monitor my relative performance in a loose way (following it too closely is enough to drive you mad — the idea is to make money, not to make sure you’re close to average). My easy dashboard check is typically through Personal Capital, which provides a decent benchmark day to day and month to month, though their tracking isn’t as accurate when it comes to longer-term returns because of the failure to track transactions very well… so since folks were asking this week, I went to the source to get some numbers I can share with you.

Here’s a little snapshot of the five-year returns from my two largest brokerage accounts (I use almost exclusively Fidelity and Interactive Brokers), benchmarked against the S&P 500, to provide some context — these cover about 90% of the Real Money Portfolio (including funds, options and equities). They report in different formants, but you can at least get a sense of the overall numbers:

That’s my return in blue, the S&P 500 in green, in case it’s not clear. And the other major accounts:

So far, so good. If you include some of my smaller holdings that are outside those accounts, and my physical gold, those might have changed the total numbers a little, probably for the worse last year… if you include my cryptocurrency positions, on the other hand, those would have boosted the returns, so altogether I’d say those are a pretty fair indication of how the full Real Money Portfolio has ...

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