How to diversify your portfolio for 2021

Equities
Investments

Portfolio diversification is something all successful traders practice. Unsure where to start? Here’s a look at how you can diversify your stocks portfolio this year.

Diversifying your portfolio

What is portfolio diversification?

Essentially, portfolio diversification is about protecting yourself against risk. The concept can also help you improve your risk adjusted returns. Those are how much profit can you potentially make against your inherent risk.

A diverse portfolio contains open positions across a range of instruments and assets. This way, you’re not overly exposed to a single type of risk. Investors and traders use a multi-asset portfolio to balance potential risks, which can help create higher returns in the long run.

Why should you diversify your portfolio?

In an ideal world, all of your trades will turn a profit. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If you’ve put all your eggs in one basket, and gone all out on a single asset, you’re opening yourself up to a potential major loss.

This is especially true if you’re trading CFDs. Because these use leverage, you can open a position using a fraction of the total trades value. Great, but while that can multiply your profits, it can heavily multiply your losses too.

By spreading your capital across a wide variety of assets and sectors, you can protect yourself against this. Potential losses from one area of your portfolio that is underperforming can be offset by profits from other sectors.

This is why investors and traders use a multi-asset portfolio to balance potential risks, which can help create higher returns in the long run.

Picking instruments & assets to diversify your portfolio

There is a wealth of different diversified instruments available to traders who want to create a wide-ranging portfolio.

Equities

The most obvious choice for investors are equities, i.e. shares. It’s important to select a number from across different sectors and geographies, so as to create diversification in your shares. By doing so, you can avoid historic pitfalls.

For instance, tech stocks were hammered when the dotcom bubble burst around 2000. Financial stocks were hit hard during the Great Recession of 2008, thanks to the subprime mortgage crisis. Flash forward to 2020, and hospitality and travel stocks have taken a beating due to Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdowns. Investing across a further of stocks in broad number of sectors can help you mitigate losses.

CFDs

CFDs or contracts for difference let you trade shares without owning them. Instead, you’re trading the difference between price points when the underlying asset moves up or down. The same principles that apply to stocks also apply here: trade CFDs across a number of different sectors or asset classes to mitigate against potential losses. It’s diversification 101.

ETFs

ETFs are exchanged traded funds. They are investment instruments that track a group of markets, instantly offering diversification in one package. ETFs can include a variety of assets, including shares, commodities, currencies, and bonds. They are passive instruments, so they mirror the returns of the underlying market and will not outperform it. They can help diversify your portfolio by giving exposure to numerous assets with a single position, potentially lowering risk.

Bonds

Bonds are fixed-income instruments representing a fixed amount of debt. They are most often issued by governments or corporations, paying regular interest payments until the loan the bond is drawn from is repaid. There are several different varieties of bond, so you could potentially create a diverse portfolio of just bonds.

They are generally considered a more secure investment, due to their comparative low risk. Warren Buffet is a big fan. In a 2013 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, the investment ace instructed his wife to put 10% of his $80bn fortune into government bonds as a secure way of hedging bets against the future.

Commodities

Commodities are bulk tradeable assets. Think products like oil, natural gas, metals, gold, crops, and so on. Rather than straight up buying the asset in question, you can trade futures contracts, i.e. agreements to exchange an asset for a set price on a set date, to get exposure to commodities. ETFs are often used to provide diversification in commodity trading, as they bundle together a group of commodities together, but you can also explore further by investing in companies involved in the production, mining, and selling of companies.

Asset allocation

Another important part of diversifying a portfolio if asset allocation. A good rule of thumb is not to put too much capital into any one specific sector or asset class. Again, this is all about mitigating your risk. If you had 80% of your capital tied up in a single stock, and 20% spread across multiple asset classes, then the potential losses from the single stock may completely outweigh any profits from the remainder of your portfolio. You could thus end up taking a heavy net loss.

It’s all about balance, which the example diverse portfolio below will show.

An example diversified portfolio

David Swenson, the investor in charge of overseeing Yale University in the US’ investments, is a good example to follow. According to the New York Times, David has managed to get 16.3% annualised ROI on his investments over the past 20 years of managing Yale’s endowment, worth around $20bn.

In that 20 years, we’ve seen some tough market conditions. The Great Recession, for example, put massive, massive pressure on financial markets globally. Through diversification, David’s portfolio has been able to weather such storms, and continues to deliver significant returns.

Here’s what David’s diversified portfolio looks like:

  • 30% – US stocks
  • 15% – International stocks from Developed economies
  • 5% – Emerging markets stocks
  • 20% – Real estate funds
  • 15% – Government bonds
  • 15% – Treasury inflation-protected securities

You’ll note no single choice represents an overwhelming section of David’s portfolio. Any underperforming sector’s losses will potentially be covered by the other parts of the portfolio, thus mitigating the risk factor.

How to diversify your portfolio

Step 1: Open your account

Firstly, you’ll need to create an account with Markets.com.

That way you can get access to our trading platforms and instruments.

You can use the Investment Strategy Builder to power your own investment strategy or use one of our ready-made options to invest with a little extra help.

Alternatively, use Marketsx to select and trade thousands of CFDs across commodities, shares, and more diversified instruments.

Step 2: Choose your assets

Remember, variety is the spice of life, and the same is true with portfolio diversification.

Over 2,200 CFDs are available on our platform, covering all the major asset classes.

Think about what you want to achieve, and also your commitments and budget. You may want to diversify your portfolio without investing too much. Consider your risk too. Do you have enough capital to trade comfortably?

With that in mind, consider your assets. Do you like the look of oil futures and gold? What about US technology stocks on the Nasdaq vs FTSE 100 performers from the UK? Geography and sector will all play into your decision making here, but as we’re talking about diversification, it’s an idea to take a broad brush and choose from a range.

Always do your due diligence before investing though.

Step 3: Open your positions

Use our platforms to place your first trade.

Step 4: Monitor your positions

Monitoring and evaluating your diversified portfolio very important if you want your trades and investments to succeed. This is not a one-time thing. You must keep things balanced.

Keep an eye on your investments to ensure you’re not exposing yourself to risk you are uncomfortable with.

You might have personal matters that impact your risk tolerances, such as a change in financial circumstances, or your long-term goals might change. In more extreme cases, the risk profile of your assets might change, i.e. a stock market crash.

It’s also necessary to know when to close a position. Be sure to keep up to date with any changes in market conditions, so that you know when it’s time to close your trade. Once you close one position, it’s a good idea to look at how you will readjust your portfolio.

Technical Analysis Part 1: Rules you need to know and the big questions

Meet Stephen Hoad, an experienced trader and educator in the field of technical analysis, and discover the key topics you will cover in the coming episodes.

Find out why technical analysis is a powerful addition to your trading strategy.

Learn the key rules of technical analysis that will inform every trading decision and get the answers to the most burning questions you always wanted to ask, but never had the opportunity.

Check out the rest of our technical analysis course here:

Part 2: Essential Chart Knowledge – The Basics 

Part 3: Direct Price Analysis (DPA) Tools 

Part 4: Price Confirmation Tools Part  Trend & Momentum 

Part 5: Volume, Volatility, and Sentiment 

Part 6: Alternative Concepts – New Approaches to Technical Analysis 

Part 7: Japanese Charts 

Part 8: Strategy Design and Implementation 

Part 9: Risk and Trade Management 

Part 10: Putting it All Together 

 

Ant Group listing – the largest IPO in history?

Equities

Jack Ma’s Ant Group is aiming to hold the largest IPO in history this year. Here’s how you can get involved with Marketsx.

Alipay operator seeks record IPO

Ant Group Co will attempt to hold the largest IPO in history later this year when it aims to raise as much as $30 billion for a valuation of at least $225 billion.

The fintech behemoth was founded by Jack Ma’s Alibaba. Amongst other things, it operates Alipay, the world’s largest digital payment platform.

The company has raised over $23 billion in private funding and was valued at $200 billion in its latest funding round. Alibaba owns a 33% stake in the business.

It’s backers include BlackRock, General Atlantic, Silver Lake, and Warburg Pincus.

Ant’s IPO filing reveals revenue of $10.5 billion in 2020 H1, representing growth of 40% year-on-year, while profit is up 1,000% on an annualised basis to $3.2 billion.

Will Ant Financial IPO beat Saudi Aramco’s record?

Ant Financial is expected to list in Shanghai and Hong Kong in October. If demand remains strong the company could raise as much as $30 billion. The IPO market got off to a slow start this year thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Hong Kong market has roared back into life in the past few months.

The current record for an IPO was set by Saudi Aramco, which raised $29 billion when it listed on the Tadawul.

How to trade the Ant Financial IPO and Ant Financial shares

This could be the biggest IPO in history, and you can start trading it right now with the Ant Financial grey market on Marketsx.

Buy or sell the grey market to speculate on the eventual market capitalisation of the company when it goes public.

You’ll also be able to start trading CFDs on the shares the day they begin trading.

Airbnb IPO: when can you buy and sell Airbnb shares?

Equities

Accommodation website Airbnb is set to be one of the largest stock market listings of the year, after the group filed a draft S-1 registration document with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a statement, Airbnb said the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined. The date of the initial public offering (IPO) is not known, but is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process. A lot will no doubt depend on market conditions.

We noted earlier in the year that the run-up in stocks after the March trough was offering companies a window of opportunity to get their stock listings out the door.

How much is Airbnb worth?

The company raised $2 billion in two separate tranches in April of this year, whilst it cut staff numbers by 25% to help it survive the enormous impact of the pandemic. This valued the company at $18bn but this was about half what it notionally worth in 2017. In May, chief executive Brian Chesky said the company expects to deliver revenues in 2020 of about half the $4.8bn generated last year.

Part of this is down to the pandemic – it has been a terrible time for the travel sector in particular and about $330bn of revenues has been lost globally, according to the US Travel Association. But Airbnb has enjoyed a surge in bookings as lockdown restrictions ended, particularly in rural areas, where bookings rose 25%.

The fact that Airbnb has not decided to shelve its anticipated IPO this year is a sign of renewed confidence, or it’s a sign the company needs to raise capital fast.

What is Airbnb?

Airbnb launched in 2008 and now has over 150 million users who offer private rentals of apartments and rooms in over 65,000 locations across the globe. It includes Amazon founder Jeff Bezos amongst its early investors. By the end of 2019 analysts were expecting the Airbnb IPO to see the company achieve a valuation of $42 billion.

How to trade Airbnb

Markets.com will be offering a grey market on Airbnb ahead of the IPO, which will let you speculate on the share price before it debuts on the stock market. The grey market price is based on the market capitalisation of the company after its first day of trading. As ever once it has completed the listing you will be able trade the shares by CFD trading or Spread Betting, or invest via share dealing.

Another way to take advantage of the Airbnb IPO is to trade the Renaissance Capital ETF (IPO), which is an index-like basket of companies that went public in the last years.

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