Happy New Year – Going to be a tough one!

Happy New Year, and looking forward to something better for 2022!

Blain’s Morning Porridge – Jan 3rd 2022: Happy New Year

“Can we just call it a potentially significant event?”

This morning – Happy New Year, and looking forward to something better for 2022!

The start of the new year is traditionally when we look forward to success. Well, if the omens I’ve experienced thus far are anything to go by… it’s going to be a tough one..!

On this Third Day of January I probably should be sharing notes of caution on current stock market valuations. I should probably comment on the many pieces in the UK papers warning of potential US civil war and how these expectations may impact long-term investment strategies if it’s time to switch dollars for renminbi. Or maybe it will be inflation: how it won’t just be gas prices hitting consumer pockets as food prices are set to rocket – fertilisers have tripled in price. Or I could mention how Ray Dalio’s latest book – “Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order” which says exactly the same things about the rise and fall of empires as David Murrin’s “Breaking the Code of History”, which was published years ago.

It’s all pretty miserable bleak stuff in the papers. Forget about it. Give yourself a break and instead…. I suggest you got watch the excellent “Don’t Look Up”. As a film it’s a tidy metaphor for our times. Seriously – if you haven’t watched it – please do.

I was hoping to start 2022 with some post-Xmas life lessons garnered over a delightful festive season to make everyone better prepared for the year ahead. Instead… its only 362 days till we get to do it all over again…

Why so miserable?

She-who-is-Mrs-Blain and I spent the holiday in isolation after positive COVID tests gifted us two red lines on our lateral flow tests for Christmas. Nicky had a mild sniffle that lasted a day, while I had a blocked nose. I know many other people were seriously sick, but our brush with Covid was a non-event. The family get together was cancelled. New Year was spent gazing at other peoples’ fireworks from our balcony. She’s justifiably peeved. I was climbing the walls.

Which is brilliant for you – dear, highly esteemed readers… the more brutally disappointed, depressed, upset, suicidal and throat-slittingly poised I am… the better the porridge will be! My personal pains and frustrations will be buried beneath earnestly considered thoughts on the game of markets.

Yeah..? Well maybe.

I suspect the reality is we’re all going to have to work harder, smarter and faster to stay still through this coming year. Whether its finding yield in a deteriorating bond market, or hedging against a dose of sharp reality in stocks, or identifying the major threats before they pounce – I suspect 2022 is going to be a thinking investor’s market. 2021 was a follow the herd kind of year.

But, before I plunge into 2022’s markets, let me share one event – which may be a clue as to how the rest of year is going to shape up:

Yesterday, Jan 2nd, after finally getting a negative test, I went out to race my sailing dinghy – a very small racing boat – in the local village fleet. Before the start I was “tuning up”, and managed to snag my main sheet – the rope that controls the sail – on the back of a moored vessel. Oops.. stupid and careless.

The result was I capsized and went for a swim – embarrassing enough.  In the freezing water I managed to right my dingy, but it was full of water. As I struggled to get on board and bail it out, it capsized again, and the mast got caught under a mooring buoy. I found myself exhausted – but in little danger as the sailing club rescue boat had seen me.

Unfortunately, someone else – for all the right reasons – saw me clinging to the buoy and called the coastguard, which dispatched the local lifeboat. The volunteers rushed down to the quayside and launched within moments, and sped off down the river. Problem was I was flolloping in the water right beside the lifeboat – literally 20 meters away from where it sits on our river. It was all rather embarrassing. They could not have been more helpful – quickly reassuring me on why it wasn’t a problem and that I was their first “shout” of the year.

I wanted to die of sheer embarrassment. They were brilliant. I rolled with it…

Experience teaches the lesson life can be awkwardly crap and embarrassing – but we got to make the best of it. From tomorrow I will be back to enthusiastically proffering advice on how to play the markets. Although markets are going to be tough, their will be opportunities ahead of us! They will lead us all to a guid and prosperous new year for us all!

But this morning… I am going to walk the dog instead. (It’s still a holiday here in UK!)

Damn the torpedoes, damn the system and full steam ahead to wherever the heck we think we’re going…

Happy New Year!

Five Things to read this morning:

Torygraph – China to replace US as world’s leading empire, says hedge fund star

FT – Prospering in the pandemic: winners and losers of the Covid era

WSJ – A Booming Startup Market Prompts a Rush for Ever Younger Companies

Bloomberg – Here’s (almost) Everything Wall Street Expects in 2022

Thunderer – Kwasi Kwarteng courted oil bosses after COP26


Out of time, and off to walk the dog..


Bill Blain

Shard Capital


  1. HNY Bill…..I laugh in solidarity with you re coastguard….identical experience equal embarrassed on boxing day in Dublin Bay…..just not as agile in the water as one used to be!!….Best Iain

  2. Watched Don’t Look Up a couple of evenings ago. Very enjoyable and frighteningly believable.
    Also watched The Unforgivable starring Sandra Bullock on the same evening. Excellent film and at the end, I cried. Thoroughly recommend.
    Happy New Year to Bill and all Porridge Readers.

  3. I commend you on testing before your gathering and testing before you started socializing again. A little common sense like that and life could return almost to normal. Rapid (Antigen) Tests are very difficult to come by in the United States. They were sold out everywhere.

    I watched Don’t Look Up last night and couldn’t tell if it was satire or a documentary.

    Sorry about the snagged mainsheet. I haven’t done that but I have had the prop coupling break with devastating effect while bringing a sailboat into a downwind slip.

    I look forward to your commentary for the new year. It is refreshing to get a point of view from outside the United States.

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