April Performance Review


Since our last updated in mid-February (approximately the market “top”), the value of our positions has declined by about 5% overall, with some portfolios hardly moving and others declining over 10%. The differences were driven by:

  • What percent of the portfolio is in cash or bonds – 25+% portfolio two, 30+% portfolio three, 20%+ portfolio four, with the heavier the cash and bond weighting the lower the decline
  • Amount of high growth stocks in portfolio – certain stocks that have been great performers that are considered “growth” and generally trade as a multiple of sales (say 20-30x sales) such as Tesla (TSLA) and Cloudflare (NET) and Sumo (SUMO) fell as the market moved from growth to value in the first quarter

Given that these portfolios represent a log-term investment for each of the participants and would be a portion of their total net worth (i.e. they often hold other cash in savings or other accounts), we try to be reasonably heavily invested in the market, but each participant has their own risk tolerance.

During this rotation into value stocks, some sectors which had been battered such as energy (Exxon-Mobil and Chevron) and Financials and some general retail have come back strong. There are many of these stocks in the portfolios (such as Coca-Cola, Procter and Gamble, and many others) but they generally represent a lower portion of the total “value” because the tech stocks have risen so much that their position size is much bigger.

We also see variances by region, with Chinese stocks rising and US stocks generally rising (at least in some sectors) but European stocks stagnant. Since these portfolios seek to choose both US and overseas stocks, we also will see changes in value based on changes in currencies and country-specific dynamics. We do not intend to “predict” which ones will rise and fall, but we encourage a balanced mix of stocks by sector and region / currency where possible.

Some specific stocks have fallen and are “on watch”, including:

  • Alibaba (BABA) – a well run Chinese company with huge cloud presence (like AWS) and a giant financial arm (called ANT), this group has run afoul of regulators and Chinese politics.  It is down about 25% from its high
  • Cloudflare (NET) – Cloudflare runs an advanced online system and trades for more than 30x revenues… making it susceptible to falling when it doesn’t perform exceedingly well in revenue growth or when interest rates increase.  It is down about 20% off its high
  • Tesla (TSLA) – the grand-daddy of all stock high flyers is down about 20% from recent peaks
  • Sumo Logic (SUMO) – SUMO has lost about half its value from peak recently.  While SUMO is still growing quickly, it recently acquired a company and is not exceeding expectations
  • Baozun (BZUN) – Baozun, the Chinese e-commerce support company, is down about 30% off recent highs.  The company was part of a short squeeze and impacted by US / China relations overall, but core operations are solid
  • Gilead (GILD) – this large pharma stock has lost about 20% of its value, despite having high earnings and dividends.  It does not play significantly in the covid space and is a bet for focus on other drugs and treatments in the post-covid era.

By portfolio:

  • Portfolio one -BABA, NET
  • Portfolio two – BABA, NET
  • Portfolio four – TSLA, NET
  • Portfolio five – SUMO, NET, BABA, BZUN
  • Portfolio six – BZUN, GILD, SUMO
  • Portfolio seven – BABA, BZUN, SUMO
  • Portfolio eight – BZUN, SUMO

Portfolio Six Updated March 2021

Portfolio six is 8 1/2 years old. The beneficiary contributed $4500 and the trustee $9000 for a total of $13,500. The current value is $22,835 for a gain of $9,335 or 69%, which is 10.4% / year when adjusted for the timing of cash flows. You can see the details here or at the link on the right.

The portfolio overall is doing well. The drug maker Gilead (GILD) has a good dividend but has had a stagnant price since we bought it many years ago and is on watch.

During 2020 for taxes there was $206 in dividends and a long term capital loss of $841 tied to sales of Shell (RDS.B) and Exxon Mobil (XOM).

Portfolio Four Updated May 2019

Portfolio Four is almost 10 years old.  The beneficiary contributed $5000 and the trustee $10,000 for a total of $15,000.  The current value is $18,567 for a gain of $3,567 or 24%, which is about 3.8% / year over the life of the account.  Go here or to the link on the right for details.  We may look at selling Electronic Arts (EA), Nvidia (NVDA) and Gilead (GILD) this summer.

Stocks on Watch, Summer 2019

As part of our investing round for the summer of 2019, we are looking at stocks to consider selling. The following stocks are on that list:

  • Baidu (BIDU) – they recently had their first loss and are way down
  • Baozun (BZUN) – stock performance far down, likely impacted by China / US trade disputes
  • Electronic Arts (EA) – far down with recent low performing franchise entries and hit by rise of Fortnite and mobile gaming
  • Gilead (GILD) – has not moved in years
  • General Motors (GM) – at risk with China / US trade disputes, automotive is a cyclical industry
  • Juniper (JNPR) – just kind of there, not growing, haven’t been taken over yet
  • Nvidia (NVDA) – went from huge growth to little / no growth
  • Smart Global Holdings (SGH) – missed earnings and hit hard
  • Equinor (EQNR) – formerly Statoil. Not moving much in years

In general will look to consolidate down the total # of stocks in the portfolio and will want to re-buy from the 2019 purchase list (to come) which will also include some stocks already in the one of the 8 existing portfolios.

Portfolio Eight Updated Feb 2018, and It’s Tax Time

Portfolio 8 is 3 1/2 years old.  The beneficiary contributed $1500 and the trustee $3000 for a total of $4500.  The current value of the portfolio is $5409 for a gain of $909 or 20%, which is 9.5% / year over the life of the portfolio adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  Go here for portfolio detail or use the link on the right.

We had 2 sales this year, Tata Motors (TTM) and Gilead (GILD).  Total long term gains from sales were $55 and dividends were $50.  The portfolio has done OK recently and bounced back from February market activity.

Portfolio Six Updated August 2017

Portfolio six is 5 years old.  The beneficiary contributed $2500 and the trustee $5000 for a total of $7500.  Current value is $8023 for a gain of $523 or 7%, which is 2% / year.  You can see the details at the link on the right or go here.

We have new analytics on these spreadsheets.  We also centrally track items like “yield” and the current description / status so we only need to updated it one time.

  1. Tata Motors (TTM) – Indian auto company which owns Range Rover.  Sell
  2. ConocoPhillips (COP) – US oil and gas producer hit hard by oil crisis, but up from lows with decent dividend.  Likely sell
  3. Exxon Mobil (XOM)  – large, well run integrated oil and gas company.  A political football.  May want to sell
  4. Gilead (GILD) – Drugmaker.  Keep for now, up from lows

Portfolio Five Updated April 2017

Portfolio 5 is 7 1/2 years old.  The beneficiary contributed $4000 and the trustee $8000 for a total of $12,000.  The current value is $14,151 for a gain of $2151 or 18%, which is about 3.6% / year adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  You can go here to see the portfolio or go to the links on the right side of the page.

The portfolio is about 50/50 with US and foreign stocks.  Almost half the stocks are considered “high dividend” with a dividend of near 3% or greater.  Gilead (GILD) is a recent drugmaker purchase and Anheuser Busch InBev (BUD) are both pretty well run companies on or near watch.

On a side note, this is one of the first portfolio to be almost totally run by formulas in Google Sheets.  I incorporated vLookups and re-arranged the sheets a bit to have more of the information on buys and sells populate automatically.  Due to these changes, it will be much easier to update this portfolio in the future and it will be the template that I will apply to the other portfolios as I migrate them to Google Sheets.

Portfolio Eight Updated April 2017

Portfolio eight is 2 1/2 years old.  The beneficiary contributed $1000 and the trustee $2000 for a total of $3000.  The current value is $3201 for a gain of $201 or 6%, which is 4% / year over the life of the fund.  Go here for a view of the stocks or use the links on the right.

The stocks are 1/2 US and 1/2 foreign and right now we are watching Gilead (GILD), one of the health care stocks that is potentially impacted by various health care proposals.

It’s Stock Picking Time for 2016!

Every year at the end of the summer we select stocks.  Here are the choices for 2016.

US Companies

Spirit Airlines (SAVE) – $40 (52 week high / low $53 / $33), $2.8B market cap, no dividend, $0.6B debt.  Spirit Airlines is a low cost airline that is challenging the oligopoly domestic carriers.

Gilead Sciences (GILD) – $77 (52 week high / low $113 / $77), $101B market cap, 2.4% dividend, $21B debt.  Gilead Sciences is a pharmaceutical company.

General Electric (GE) – $31 (52 week high / low $33 / $23), $281B market cap, 2.9% dividend, $145B debt.  General Electric is a conglomerate that has exited financial services.

International Companies

Unilever ADR UK (UL) – $48 (52 week high / low $38 / $48), $150B market cap, 2.9% dividend, $13B debt.  Unilever is a British consumer goods company with a strong global presence.  This is the ADR that pays out in British Pounds so that there is no tax withholding.

SAP ADR (SAP) – $89 (52 week high / low $62 / $89), $112B market cap, 1.5% dividend, $8B debt.  SAP is a German software company with a strong global presence.

Elbit Systems ADR (ESLT) – $97 (52 week high / low $72 / $103), $4B market cap, 1.6% dividend, $0.4B debt.  Elbit Systems is an Israeli defense contractor.