Portfolio One Updated December, 2018

Portfolio One is a little more than 17 years old.  The current balance is $42,691 (of which $10,775 is cash).  The beneficiary contributed $2500 (net of withdrawals) and the trustee $17,000 for a total of $19,500.  Thus gains are $23,191 or 118% on original investment, which is about 6.2% / year when adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  Go here for details or at the link.

Although the market has not performed well lately, most of the stocks are in decent shape and the cash holdings (over 20% of portfolio, now yielding over 2%) limit downside risk (and upside opportunities later, assuming that the market goes back up at some point).

Some stocks on watch:

  • Alibaba (BABA) – at about 70% of its 52 week peak, has been hit by slow down in China and also a possible previous over-valuation in software stocks
  • Electronic Arts (EA) – this stock is at about 53% of its 52 week high, as the whole games market has been hit hard lately even though the fundamentals (revenue) aren’t that much different, possibly due to Fortnight and the potential impact of streaming.  Will watch, may sell
  • Nvidia (NVDA) – another former high flyer, this chip maker was buoyed by crypto mining and is down about 50% off its 52 week high, although it still has strong cash flow.  Will watch, may sell

Portfolio Overview And Recent Market Activity

Since we moved the portfolios to Google Sheets and integrated them to a single data source, it has been much easier to review overall performance (in aggregate) and performance within a single one of the 8 portfolios.  Like the rest of the overall market, we hit a peak in September at around $180k and have since declined to $168k (a loss of $12k or about 7%).  Traditionally, October has been a month where difficult events occurred, so for whatever reason it happened again in 2018.  Generally the Tech giants have been hit hard, and although we are not invested in many of the most prominent names (Amazon, Google), we do have some investment in Facebook as well as in the Chinese names like Alibaba, who also were impacted.  When this settles down a bit (likely after the elections, for good or ill) we will look through the winners and losers and see if there are any significant actions to be taken among portfolio stocks.  Note that even with recent losses, we are still up from about $137k in April 2017 to $168k in November 2018, which is approximately 20% (it is a bit less than the math would first appear because of the net effect of incremental investments and withdrawals during the period).

Stock Selections for 2018

Stocks to choose from for 2018:

US Stocks

  • CME Group (CME) – a financial firm that trades and clears futures products and has a high dividend (they have an annual dividend plus a special year end dividend of 3.5%+ in total).  They make money from trade volume which tends to increase in times of volatility or disruption in the markets, and are thus kind of a “hedge”
  • PayPal (PYPL) – PayPal spun off from eBay and makes more money as the world moves to digital payment methods from cash.  They also own Venmo which they have yet to monetize (existing stock owned by Portfolio One)
  • Union Pacific (UNP) – Union Pacific is a large and well-run railroad company (existing stock owned by Portfolios Five and Six)
  • Electronic Arts (EA) – An American video game developer that has been hit lately but could be a bet on the potential of this sector and streaming

Foreign Stocks

  • Inditex (IDEXY) – this Spanish company is known in the USA as “Zara” and is a leader in “fast fashion” and integrating e-commerce with direct retail
  • Alibaba (BABA) – the Chinese e-commerce giant has been growing and expanding into different domains (existing stock owned by Portfolios Three and Seven)
  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSM) – this manufacturer of semiconductors counts Apple as a large customer and has been doing very well for many years (existing stock owned by Portfolio One)
  • Infosys (INFY) – Indian outsourcer and technology company has been doing well and benefits from the weaker Indian currency (existing stock owned by Portfolios One and Three).  Note – this stock just split 2/1 effective 9/12 so the price history will look strange if you see it online


  • Gold ETF (IAU) – this ETF tracks the price of gold.  Gold does not provide a dividend but could be a hedge against inflation or disruption

Between the eight portfolios, there are almost 40 different stocks to follow.  Generally, we select “new” stocks rather than re-recommend existing stocks.  However, for this round, we will have some “new” stocks but also continue to recommend some existing stocks that the portfolios can choose from.  This will slow the overall growth of stocks across all the portfolios which will make it simpler to track.

We will continue to recommend a mix of US and foreign stocks to choose from, although each portfolio can select whatever they’d like (they don’t have to split their investments equally between both).  Recently the US dollar has gone up, resulting in (relatively) poorer performance for foreign stocks.  However, this can change and these are long-term portfolios so we recommend US and foreign stocks rather than taking an effective “position” on the future direction of US currency (i.e. if you thought the dollar was going up indefinitely you would buy US based assets exclusively).  Folks often fail to remember the past, when the US dollar fell for years against many different currencies.

Potential Stock Sales for August 2018

Here are the potential stock sales by portfolio:

Portfolio 8K

  • GM – consider selling
  • BZUN

Portfolio 7G

  • GM – consider selling
  • BZUN

Portfolio 6

  • ESLT
  • BZUN
  • BIDU

Portfolio 5D

  • BZUN
  • GM – consider selling 
  • BUD – recommend selling (not growing) (SOLD)
  • BIDU

Portfolio 4M

  • TSLA – recommend selling (a media circus) (SOLD)
  • ABB
  • ESLT

Portfolio 3

  • ABB
  • DWDP – recommend selling (will split into multiple companies) (SOLD)
  • BIDU
  • ESLT
  • WMT (SOLD)

Portfolio 1 and 2 – None


Portfolio Eight Updated August 2018

Portfolio eight is three years old.  The beneficiary contributed $1500 and the trustee $3000 for a total of $4500.  The current value of the portfolio is $6291 for a gain of $1791 or 40%, which is about 18% / year when adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  You can see the detail here or on the link to the right.


There are a couple of stocks on watch right now:

  • General Motors (GM) – All the car makers were hit pretty hard recently and it is down about 20% off its peak.
  • Baozun (BZUN)- the Chinese ecommerce company is down with the overall Chinese market, about 20% off its high.  Has still done well this year overall

Portfolio 7 Updated August 2018

Portfolio 7 is 3 years old.  The beneficiary invested $1500, the trustee $3000, for a total of $4500.  The current value is $6412 for a gain of $1912 or 42%, which works out to 18% / year over the life of the fund.  See details here or go to the link on the right.

There are a couple stocks on watch:

  • Baozun (BZUN) is a Chinese internet company which recently has gone down about 20% along with the rest of the Chinese market
  • General Motors (GM) is the US auto maker with a strong overseas presence; auto stocks too recently dropped about 20% in a sell-off