Holy Grail Alternative Portfolio

In reply to the Seeking Alpha "Holy Grail" article, one reader recommended the following asset allocation plan.  In this portfolio I am using JNK as the high yield investment.  There are likely better choices if someone cares to make a suggestion.  In the following portfolio, SLV was eliminated and GLD was reduced from 5% down to 2%.  The reader who suggested the following portfolio does not like SDS any more than I do.  The reason for including it in the original HG portfolio is to bring down the projected uncertainty or risk.  As this market moves higher, SDS looks more attractive.  Having said that, I do not recommend including SDS in any but very large portfolios.  As I recall, I only hold it in two of the seven portfolios available to Platinum members.

The portfolio suggested below is quite strong, but it does give ground to the "Holy Grail" portfolio assuming one pays attention to Quantext Portfolio Planner (QPP) analysis.  As a reminder, the projected return and uncertainty values for the HG portfolio were 8.4% and 12.8% respectively.  The Diversification Metric (DM) was 44%.  Compare those values with the projections provided below.

If one takes a scientific view of these two possible portfolios, the projections likely overlap if one were to supply uncertainty to each value.  Take the 8.1% (rounded) projected return value below.  Suppose one argued that the 8.1% projection carried a +/- 5% uncertainty.  If this argument is true, then the projected return could be as high as 8.4%.  Using similar uncertainty projections for the HG projected return, that 8.4% could dip down to around 8%.  My point is that these projections are not absolute numbers.  Therefore, one needs to be careful not to think of them as absolute values, but as "best guesses" and the guesses will overlap if they are off by very small percentages.

Readers will find the Delta Index table below for this new portfolio.  Use this table only as a very broad guideline and keep in mind that future projections are highly speculative at best.  Where this table seems to work best is at market highs and lows.  In those situations, the Delta Index tends to turn all green in deep bear markets and all red at market highs.  The Delta Index column below tells a story that we are in a mixed market environment.

Beethoven for Mother’s Day

Special Wishes On Mother's Day

While I likely recommended Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 in a past blog post, I don't think I ever mention this particular recording.  This London recording features Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is directed by Sir Georg Solti. 

The eight minute "Adagio Un Poco Mosso" section is among the most beautiful music ever written.  What follows is a quote from an Amazon reviewer.

"This recording is not only the best set of the Beethoven Piano Concertos I know of, but also represents the peak performances in the history of Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony. For some reason, after the mid-70s, Solti increasingly emphasized power at the expense of musicality, and the sound of the orchestra became more strident and astringent.

But these performances, having all the power and excitement of the later Chicago Symphony recordings, also have warmth, love, and sweetness. Ashkenazy too was at his peak in these recordings. His later cycle, in Cleveland, lacks the bite and depth of involvement that you can find here.

If you want a capsule summary of the performance philosophy of these performances, it is easy to describe: they are unapologetically romantic. In my opinion, the Third and Fourth concertos are particularly fine. Both Ashkenazy and Solti find exactly the right combination of power and beauty in both works, and the quality of the performances is further emphasized by the gorgeous sound.

And speaking of sound, those who believe that a recording has to be DDD in order to have state-of-the-art sound need to listen to these recordings. The subsequent digital recordings of these works that I have heard are all comparatively cold and clinical.

I consider it unfortunate that in the last 25 years music has been more of an intellectual or historical exercise than an emotional experience or an appreciation of beauty. But back in the 70s when this was recorded, Solti and Ashkenazy had not been infected by those negative trends.

Looking at the individual concertos, I have a slight preference for Richter's recording of the First and the Serkin/Bernstein recording of the "Emperor" (Fifth). But if you want a complete set of outstanding performances of all five Beethoven concertos, I don't think there is another set that comes close to these."