Portfolio One Updated April, 2022

Portfolio one is 20 1/2 years old. The beneficiary contributed $10,000 (net of withdrawals) and the trustee $20,000 for a total of $30,000. The current value is $82,037 for a gain of $52,037 or 173%, which is 8.3% / year when adjusted for the timing of cash flows. Go to the link or here to see details.

This portfolio is down with the others and we can look at a few stocks:

  • Block (SQ) – this is an interesting stock but was hit hard in recent SAAS / payment stock re-valuations
  • Pinduoduo (PDD) – the Chinese tech stocks have been devalued by Chinese government actions, tensions with the USA, and a general re-evaluation of tech stocks
  •  Meta (FB) – Meta’s challenges are well documented as they pivot to Augmented reality – but they still make a lot of profits and have great assets worldwide
  • Rocket (RKT) – we sold half our rocket when they hit a “meme stock” high which is good in hindsight.  The stock pays a strong dividend but is hit hard by the impending raise in interest rates which chokes mortgage growth and refinancing
  • Alibaba (BABA) – like PDD this stock suffered from a triple whammy
  • Paypal (PYPL) – one of the most perplexing on the list, PayPal fell instantly out of favor with analysts after stopping guidance the shares cratered without a significant negative event in the business
  • OKTA (OKTA) – this software company had an acquisition the market didn’t like and then was hit with the overall re-evaluation of software companies valued by growth not profits

Portfolio Two Updated April 2022

Portfolio Two is 17 1/2 years old.  The trustee contributed $18,200 and the beneficiary $27,000 for a total of $45,200.  The current value is $72,659 for a gain of $27,460 or 60.8%, which is 6.7% / year when adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  Go here or to the link for more details.

This portfolio contains a mix of ETF’s, cash and individual stocks.  The ETF’s mainly track the market and cash is even so let’s talk about some of the stocks, as follows:

  • Meta (FB) and Alibaba (BABA) are down significantly.  Meta has been hit with the tech downturn and Apple privacy changes and Alibaba has been hit by regulatory and tech crackdowns in China
  • Cloudflare (NET) is an innovative tech company with a high valuation (in terms of price to sales, one of the highest for tech companies) and it has been variable recently, although it has bounced back from recent lows
  • Nike (NKE) and L’Oreal (LRLCY) are relatively recent purchases that are in the consumer product space and they are down since we bought them (although not as big as the tech drops)

Portfolio Six Updated January 2022

Portfolio Six is nine years old.  The beneficiary contributed $5000 and the trustee $10,000 for a total of $15,000.  The current value is $28,020 which is a gain of $13,020 or 87%, which is 11.1% / year adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  Go here for a summary or to the link.

This year we sold three stocks (Facebook, Sumo Logic and Baozun) and bought three stocks (Intel, Paypal and L’Oreal).  Nvidia (NVDA) also split shares.

The portfolio is overall doing well.  The largest gains have been tied to NVDA, OKTA, Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM), Union Pacific (UNP) and Procter & Gamble).

Portfolio Performance As of May 2020 and Replacement Stock Selections

The stock market has recovered almost all of the losses incurred with the pandemic.  From peak to trough (Feb 2020 to March 2020) we lost about 23% of our value.  Today, we are down about 7% from peak.  Our percentages do not completely align with the market because some portfolios hold up to 20% cash and some bond investments (BND ETF from Vanguard) and Gold (IAU ETF ticker).  This performance generally aligns with riding the market down and then back up again.Portfolio Performance May 10 2020

Whether by luck or design, our portfolios did not hold most of the industries that bore the brunt of the Covid impact, like airlines, hotels, and commodities. We did have some stocks that we recently sold in some of these hard hit areas.

I reviewed the rest of the portfolio and we are continually “pruning down” the list of stocks that we hold. There are about 30 stocks held across the portfolio right now, down from about 40 or so in the relatively recent past. This does not include ETF’s.

The stocks that have driven the most value in the portfolio that are not bought across all the portfolio (because every beneficiary selects individually) are:

  • Electronic Arts (EA) – videogames
  • Mastercard (MA) – electronic payments & credit cards
  • CME Group (CME) – financial services
  • Alibaba (BABA) – Chinese e-commerce giant
  • Nvida (NVDA) – semiconductors
  • OKTA (OKTA) – SAAS provider of security services
  • Paypal (PYPL) – electronic payments
  • Procter & Gamble (PG) – iconic brand company
  • Taiwan Semi-conductor (TSM) – semiconductors
  • Union Pacific (UNP) – Railways
  • Gold ETF (IAU) – tracks price of gold

If the portfolios that are selecting new stocks don’t currently own one of the stocks listed above, they may want to consider buying them.

New stocks for May 2020:

  • Carrier (CARR) – manufacture and sale of Heating and cooling systems (HVAC).  Recently spun out from a conglomerate
  • Facebook (FB) – owner of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp seems to have recovered from past controversies
  • Cloudflare (NET) – security and edge networking has been growing with the crisis

Stocks To Pick:

Portfolio Four – select three stocks

Portfolio Five – select two stocks

Portfolio Six – select one stock

Portfolio Three Updated December 2018

Portfolio Three is 11 years old.  The beneficiary contributed $6000 and the trusted $12,000 for a total of $18,000.  The current value is $21,710 for a gain of $3,710 or 21%, which is 2.9% / year when adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  See the details here or go to the links on the left.

There are a few stocks we are looking at in the current market environment:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Facebook (FB) – it has been a bad year for Facebook and the stock is down about 30% off its highs.  Still strong financial performance, will watch
  • Baidu (BIDU) – another Chinese internet company down about 30% off its peak.  Will watch like Alibaba, above
  • ABB (ABB) – European industrial conglomerate which has fallen about 20% since we’ve bought it

Portfolio Three Updated March 2016 – Tax Time

Portfolio Three is our third longest lived portfolio, at 8 1/2 years.  The beneficiary contributed $4500 and the trustee $9000 for a total of $13,500.  The current value is $12,814 for a loss of ($685) or (5%).  Adjusted for the timing of cash flows, this is (1%) a year.  The detail can be found in the links on the right or here.

This year we sold Yahoo after all the drama and bought ConocoPhillips, Alibaba and Facebook.

There are a few stocks on watch.  LinkedIn (LNKD) dropped almost half its value when it issued forward earnings guidance; since then the stock has stabilized and is on watch.  I still believe in the company although many others apparently do not.  ConocoPhillips (COP) was hit immediately by the collapse in oil prices (even though we were buying it on a dip) – this is also on watch to see how they do in this difficult environment for commodity companies.  Wynn (WYNN) is a casino company with properties in Macau China catering to heavy Chinese gamblers; the crackdown on corruption has severely dampened earnings.

For taxes in 2015, there is a net loss for the year due primarily to a fall in value of Weibo (WB) which was pummeled in the great Chinese stock market rout and we sold the stock (it since gained back some of its value).  

Of the other stocks we’ve sold in recent years they are still below the price we sold them at.

Portfolio Three After 2015 Purchases and Sales

Portfolio_Three_Updated_Fall_2015

Attached is a screen shot from Google Finance of Portfolio Three after stock sales and purchases for 2015.  New stocks are Alibaba (BABA), ConocoPhillips (COP), and Facebook (FB).  The returns by stock represent stock price appreciation not dividends so dividend stocks have a higher return than listed.

Stock Selections for 2015

Attached are the stock selections for 2015.  We are expanding the list slightly because most of the funds not only have new cash to invest for 2015 but we also did a recent round of selling that needs to be re-invested.

US Stocks

  1. Box (BOX) – $13, 52 week range $11-$24, $1.5B market cap, no dividend, little debt.  Box provides a cloud-based document storage and governance capability and is growing rapidly among Fortune 500 corporations
  2. Mastercard (MA) – $101, 52 week range $75-$101, $114B market cap, 0.7% yield, $1.5B debt.  Mastercard is a global credit card brand that benefits from the long-term migration of cash and checks to credit.  Their biggest competitor, Visa, recently announced a merger with Visa Europe which likely will distract that company for several years and give Mastercard an opportunity to pick up market share
  3. ConocoPhillips (COP) – $55, 52 week range $41-$74, $68B market cap, 6% yield, $25B debt.  ConocoPhillips is an oil and gas exploration company that is a major bet on future price rises for natural gas and oil with technical knowhow and efficient production.  They recently made major cuts in response to the commodity price collapse
  4. Union Pacific (UNP) – $86, 52 week range $79-$124, $73B market cap, 2.6% yield, $13B debt.  Union Pacific operates a massive US rail network and has been hit recently by reductions in the industrial and commodity economies.  However, they are highly efficient and represent a solid long term bet on industrial growth and recovery

Foreign Stocks

  1. Tata Motors (TTM) – $30, 52 week range $21-$51, $19B market cap, no dividend, $11B.  Tata Motors is an Indian based company that benefits from low costs and growth in the Indian car market and also owns Jaguar and Land Rover.  The stock will be down a bit early next week because they just released earnings and showed an unexpected loss due to a one time event
  2. China Eastern Airlines (CEA) – $30, 52 week range $20-$50, $8B market cap, no dividend, $6B debt.  China Eastern Airlines can benefit from the growth in outbound Chinese tourism and investment as well as potential government mandated consolidation in the airlines sector which could result in higher profits and reduced competition
  3. Alibaba (BABA) – $83, 52 week range $57-$120, $207B market cap, no dividend, $8B debt.  Alibaba is a major web commerce / mobile player in China.  Much of Yahoo’s value was based on an ownership stake in this entity (we recently sold off Yahoo)
  4. Novartis (NVS) – $89, 52 week range $88-$106, $214B market cap, 2.7% yield, $22B debt.  Novartis is a major Swiss based drug maker

Wildcards

This is a new section.  These are some riskier stocks either because of high prices or uncertain outcomes.

  1. Tesla (TSLA) – $232, 52 week range $181-$286, $30B market cap, no dividend, $2.6B debt.  Tesla is a maker of electric cars led by the charismatic Elon Musk.  Their valuation is very high considering that they lose money, gas prices are low which reduces the savings from electricity, and they deliver a fraction of the cars that a “major” automotive giant would.  On the other hand, their fan base is passionate and their design is praised
  2. Facebook (FB) – $107, 52 week range $72-$110, $301B market cap, no dividend, little debt.  Facebook is the ubiquitous social media presence with a huge and growing global and mobile footprint and messaging.  Their market cap has almost tripled since their IPO and are led by the charismatic Mark Zuckerberg
  3. Cheniere (LNG) – $46, 52 week range $43-$82, $11B market cap, no dividend, $16B debt.  Cheniere is a long term bet on liquified natural gas, which takes (relatively) cheap US gas and ships it to offshore countries seeking clean energy and diversified energy sources.  This is a risky but possible bet because the facilities are mostly built but yet to ship gas and prices are falling, but the long term upside is also large if they can survive and prosper

Portfolio Two Updated October 2015

Portfolio Two is our second longest portfolio, at 11 years.  The beneficiary contributed $6000 and the trustee contributed $12,000 for a total of $18,000.  The current value is $28,334 for a gain of $10,334 or 57%, which works out to about 6.8% / year across the life of the portfolio.  You can download the detail here or utilize the links on the right side of the page.

This portfolio has been buoyed by two star performers, Amazon (AMZN) and Facebook (FB).  Both of those stocks have moved up substantially recently and account for half the total gain.

Poor performers are TransAlta (TAC), which was hammered by the drop in the Canadian dollar and the collapse of the commodity markets, and Wynn (WYNN) resorts which was hurt badly by changes in Chinese policy that limit gambling and especially “high roller” VIP gambling in Macau.

We will likely sell off all these stocks and move into cash and then ETF’s, likely following the approach listed in this post titled “Investing – Basic Plan” of low-cost ETF’s and CD’s purchased through a brokerage.  At approximately $28,000, the portfolio would likely be about $10,000 5 year CD (at around 2% / year) and $9,000 of VTI (Vanguard total stock market) and $9,000 of VEU (Vanguard total stock market ex-USA).  There would be about $6900 in net taxable gains that would need to be paid and the trustee / their parents need to decide who is going to pay this amount (if the rate was 15%, this would be about $1035 in taxes).  If the taxes were paid out of this distribution, then we would be re-investing just under $27,000.  This portfolio has unique reasons for doing the sell-off and re-investment into ETF’s that we don’t plan to repeat with other portfolios unless it is necessary.

Trends in Stocks

Investing in stocks is always hard.  You are looking at data about the past but you are betting on an individual stock in the future.  In addition, there has been huge correlation among stocks and markets and the impact of currencies and central bankers (often inter-twined) has given various world markets boom and bust qualities.

In the US, there are two markets, the NASDAQ and NYSE.  NASDAQ has traditionally been more technology focused, meaning that when these stocks go up, the NASDAQ soars.   Here is a quote on “the only six stocks that matter” about the NASDAQ from the Wall Street Journal:

Six firms— Amazon.com Inc.,Google Inc.,Apple Inc.,FacebookInc.,Netflix Inc. and Gilead Sciences Inc.—now account for more than half of the $664 billion in value added this year to the NasdaqComposite Index, according to data compiled by brokerage firm JonesTrading.

Thus the bottom line is that if you don’t have these stocks in your portfolio, the overall index may be rising (and our benchmark for performance), but your own returns will be worse.  We do have some of Amazon and Facebook in portfolio 2, but not much of it overall.

Outside the USA, foreign markets have been hurt by the rising US dollar, which makes their market values lower for us here in the USA (where the dollar is our currency).  This hurts stock investments in Europe (the Euro), Canada (the Loonie), and Australia (the Australian dollar) if you are denominated in US dollars (which we are).   The dollar is up significantly vs. almost every other currency in the world with the exception of the Chinese Yuan.

The Chinese market went crazy this year, in what appears to be a major bubble, that recently started crashing and was accompanied by strong intervention from the central authorities, who went after short sellers and even stopped stocks from trading for various reasons.   At one point almost the entire Chinese stock market by valuation (over 80%) was not trading.  The rationale is that if stocks are heading down, and you can stop trading, then this gives the market participants time to stop panicking.  This type of intervention stops the market from functioning efficiently, however, and will have many other unforeseen impacts down the road.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity also soared in 2015, which is a sign of bullishness and also likely a sign of a market peak.  A Wall Street Journal article recently summed it up:

Companies are merging at a pace unseen in nearly a decade. Halfway through the year, about $2.15 trillion in M&A deals or offers have been announced globally, according to Dealogic. That puts 2015 on pace to challenge the biggest year on record, 2007, when companies inked deals worth $4.3 trillion… In industries ranging from health care to technology to media, chief executives are rushing to make acquisitions, often either in anticipation of takeover moves by rivals or in response to them.

When acquisitions occur, you as a stock market investor typically want to be the “acquired” company, not the “acquirer”.  The “acquired” company receives a premium price to their current market value but the burden of “earning” that higher price falls on to the acquired company, and typically M&A does not pay off long term for most companies (as opposed to internal or “organic” growth).  While there have been many acquisitions, most notably in the health care / insurance / pharma industry which is consolidating under Obamacare, our portfolios had few of these acquired companies in the mix.

Finally, you had a decimation of the commodity indexes.  Commodities such as oil, some foodstuffs, natural gas, iron ore, copper, gold, etc… have seen their prices collapse, which in turn damages the stocks of mining companies, oil companies, and many other participants in the commodity value chain.  Per Bloomberg:

Almost all commodity markets have taken a severe beating lately. The aggregate Bloomberg Commodities Index is down 61 percent from its 2008 peak and 46 percent from the 2011 post-crisis high

These are severe reductions.  They impact entire economies particularly the Arab countries (which make all their export income in oil), Russia (many commodities), Australia and Canada.  There are large “secondary” impacts as well – reduced commodity prices hurt service demand in Canada and Australia and put their housing boom at risk.

So what does this mean for us and our portfolios?  We’ve been hurt by the commodity bust, the rise of the US dollar (on our foreign stocks), and we’ve missed some of the booming stocks because they were narrowly concentrated in a few names and some of the largest M&A was in sectors where we had few investments.

We are now going to look at some of the stocks and cull some prior to our next round of purchases which will occur in August – September as the beneficiaries of the various portfolios head off to school for the year, and will tie new purchases (of the cash) with additional investments that will be made soon.

Portfolio Two Updated March, 2015 – and It’s Tax Time

Portfolio 2 is our second longest portfolio, at 10 1/2 years. The beneficiary contributed $5500 and the trustee $11,000 for a total of $16,500. The current value is $24,497 for a gain of $9,397 or 57% or 7.4% across the life of the fund. Go here for details or download the spreadsheet from the link on the right.

During 2014 we sold 4 stocks; 2 are near their sales price, Urban Outfitters went up about 20% since then, and Yandex halved in price. So we are about even on that.

During 2014 the portfolio generated $449 in dividends; that’s a yield of about 1.9%. That’s pretty good when you consider that cash yields pretty much zero nowadays.

For stocks on watch – we still have TransAlta (Canadian utility) which has a high dividend and also some stocks that have had big gains, such as Toyota Motor and of course Facebook. Statoil and the 2 Canadian banks also have hit problems due to the commodity price crash (especially oil) and the rise of the US dollar which makes holding stocks denominated in Canadian dollars and Norwegian Kroner less valuable.

Portfolio Two Quick Update December 2014

Portfolio Two is listed below. We were hit in Statoil due to the crude collapse and the falling Norwegian currency. TransAlta, the Canadian energy company, was also hit by these forces.

The portfolio also has Amazon, which is falling a bit relative to other tech companies. They are a well run, long term player, but the street was looking for (marginally) higher profits.

Wynn casinos are also on watch because of a crack down on corruption in China, which limits gambling revenues.

Many other companies are doing well, particularly Facebook and Nidec (Japan) which have half the portfolio’s current unrealized gains.

Portfolio_2_12-12-14

Portfolio Two Updated August, 2014

Portfolio two is our second longest lived portfolio, at over ten years.  The beneficiary contributed $5000 and the trustee $10,000 for a total of $15,000.  The portfolio value is $25,300 for a gain of $10,300 or 68%, which works out to about 9.3% / year over the life of the portfolio.  You can see the detail of the portfolio in the link on the right or go here.

The portfolio is doing well now, and we recently sold Splunk when it hit our target price.  The portfolio did well on Facebook, buying near the post IPO nadir and riding it up to more than 3 1/2 times the purchase price.

There are 15 stocks in the portfolio and $3331 in cash; if $1500 additionally is contributed by the trustee and beneficiary there will be $4831 in cash available for stocks.  We will buy three stocks in larger amounts and try to keep the total portfolio at 20 or less stocks over the next few years.

New Stop Loss Orders

Our stop loss orders have expired.   I went through the stocks and picked out a few more per portfolio.  These expire in 60 days (6/3/14) or if they are executed.

Portfolio One

Twitter (TWTR) is at $44.  Put in a limit at $35.  The stock has dropped since we purchased it and is very volatile.  Twitter got dumped on by the market and fell quickly, hit limit and we sold

Portfolio Two

Splunk (SPLK) limit at $60.  This stock has been a great portfolio but don’t want to ride it too far down.  Hit limit and sold off.  Note the stock has continued to fall far below this number, into the 40’s. Glad we sold.  At some point may look to get back in the stock

– Facebook (FB) limit at $50.  Same as Splunk.

Portfolio Three

– Splunk (SPLK) limit at $50 per above.  Hit limit and sold off

– Baidu (BIDU) limit at $140, has been down since we’ve bought it

Portfolio Four

– Nucor (NUE) limit at $46

– Seaspan (SSW) limit at $18

Portfolio Five

– Seaspan (SSW) limit at $18

– Baidu (BIDU) limit at $140, has been down since we’ve bought it

Portfolio Three

– Seaspan (SSW) limit at $18

– Baidu (BIDU) limit at $140, has been down since we’ve bought it

 

 

Portfolio Two Updated March 2014

Portfolio Two is ten and a half years old.  The beneficiary contributed $5500 and the trustee $11,000 for a total of $16,500.  Current value is $25,427 for a gain of $8927 or 54%, which works out to about 7% / year.  You can see the detail to the links on the right or here.

The fund has 16 stocks with an average balance around $1500.  Over time we will try to move the average position size to closer to $2000 and try to keep the fund less than 20 or so stocks to keep it easier to manage.  The fund is roughly evenly split between US and overseas stocks.

About half the gains have come from two US technology stocks – Facebook which we bought at what was probably the low point of $18.75 and it is now at $68 and Splunk.  We will watch those two stocks so we don’t end up riding the gains back down.

For 2013 taxes there were no sales so no gains / losses.  There was $383 in dividends, a rate of 1.5% / year.  The rate is lower net because a higher percentage of the portfolio value consists of technology companies which don’t pay dividends.