Portfolio Four Updated January 2017 – Tax Time

Portfolio Four is a bit over 7 years old.  The beneficiary contributed $4000 and the trustee $8000 for a total of $12,000.  The current value is $13,932 for a gain of $1932 or 16%, which is about 3.3% / year when adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  You can see the detailed spreadsheet at the link on the right or download it here.

The portfolio is generally doing well. We sold LinkedIn (LNKD) because they were bought by Microsoft and gave up on Coca Cola FEMSA (KOF) which was hurt by the decline in the Mexican Peso and recent election results.  We did not sell many of the energy companies which (mostly) held on to their high dividends and have risen recently with the uptick in oil prices.  It is important that you look at the “total return” which includes dividends because some stocks look like they have losses just based on price bought vs. today when in fact they’ve been positive due to dividends.

The portfolio had about $240 in dividends for an average yield of about 1.7%.  This is a good rate but down a bit from last year because we sold Seaspan (SSW) and Garmin (GRMN) which had high dividends.  Most of our sales are still OK in hindsight but Garmin has gone up a bit since we sold it.  We had a long term capital loss of $474 due to sales of LNKD and KOF, above.

Portfolio Five Updated January 2017 – Tax Time

Portfolio five is a bit over 7 years old.  The beneficiary contributed $4000 and the trustee $8000 for a total of $12,000.  The current value is $14,071 for a gain of $2071 or 17%, which is 3.5% / year when adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  The spreadsheet can be found on the link to the right or you can download it here.

During 2016 we had about $223 in dividends for an average yield of about 1.6%.  There was a capital loss of $134 on the sale of LinkedIn (which was bought by Microsoft).  The portfolio is doing well, with Spirit Airlines (SAVE) being a recent winner.  Our sales also seem OK in hindsight.

Portfolio Three Updated January 2017 – Tax Time

Portfolio three is our 3rd longest lived portfolio, at a bit over 9 years.  The beneficiary contributed $5000 and the trustee $10,000 for a total of $15,000.  The current value of the portfolio is $16,551 for a gain of $1551 or 10%, which works out to about 2% / year when adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  You can see the detailed spreadsheet at the link on the right or download it here.

During 2016 we had about $280 in dividends (for a yield of about 1.7%) and had long-term capital losses on our sale of WYNN and Linked In (LNKD) which was bought by Microsoft.  Most of our sales have held up pretty well except for Weibo (WB), typically called “China’s Twitter” which went up significantly from recent lows.

Stocks on watch update

Generally waiting and putting these stocks on watch have gone well.  They have mostly increased in price recently.

Novartis (NVS) – did not have a good quarterly earnings release.  Still on watch may sell.

Statoil (STO) – still generally on the rise with the recent increase in oil prices

Linked In (LNKD) – up since lows.  Will see if it stalls

Wynn (WYNN) – up almost 50% off its lows.  Beat q1 earnings.

ConocoPhillips (COP) – up off lows but hurt recently by Canadian shutdown due to wildfires

Coca Cola Femsa (KOF) – generally still on the rise off lows.  OK dividend

Devon (DVN) – up significantly off lows.  Benefiting from recent rise in oil prices

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) – also up on recent oil price rises.  Hit some by closing of Canadian oil sands due to wildfires

Oracle (ORCL) – still doing OK.  Will keep on long term watch due to cloud threat

Juniper (JNPR) – missed their 3/31/16 earnings.  Will watch on 6/30/16.  May be passed up by the cloud environment.  Could be an acquisition target

Current inclination… is to sell Juniper and Novartis.  Will watch.

Comments for Stocks on Watch

In general, earnings season is coming up now (mid to late April) for many of these stocks and we can hear about forward revenue projections and their views on oil prices as well as dividend policy.

Comments for Stocks on watch:

Novartis (NVS) – April 21 we will hear Q1 results and updates on strategy and EPS.

Statoil (STO) – April 27 we will hear Q1 results.  Stock price linked to dividend policy.  Their current dividend is over 7% and sustaining the stocks’ value

Linked In (LNKD) – April 28 Q1 earnings call.  Stock hit hard after forward guidance but still has significant and growing revenues (not a unicorn).

Wynn (WYNN) – Stock still in 90’s… will continue to watch (up from far lows).

ConocoPhillips (COP) – Stock already took hit from 75% dividend cut.  Now they believe they can break even on cash flow perspective at $45 oil which is attainable.  Remains on watch

Coca Cola Femsa (KOF) – Stock in 80’s… will continue to watch.

Devon (DVN) – still watching with oil prices.  Devon has a low dividend so little downside risk now of dividend cuts.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) – will watch with oil prices and their restructuring.  Still holding on to high dividend for now (almost 8%)

Oracle (ORCL) – still rising with cloud numbers.

Stocks on Watch – March 2016

The strategy of these 8 portfolios has been to purchase individual stocks, and to hold them for the medium term.  These portfolios are not the same as an individual investor who seeks to invest for their long term financial future – they should utilize low-cost ETF’s and brokerage CD’s as is described in the “basic plan” that is linked to here or at the top of the site.  Portfolio 2 (see link on the right side of the page) has now converted to a long term type of model.

The reason we employ this strategy is because 1) I want to teach the principles of investing 2) I want to encourage thrift (savings) with the “match” concept 3) I want the beneficiaries to be actively involved in selections and see the consequence of their selections (stocks go up, stocks go down).  In addition, choosing stocks teaches a lot about capitalism and is a fundamental aspect of everything that happens in the world of business – stocks move up and down due to business fundamentals, their particular industry situation, the impact of commodity prices, the impact of foreign currencies vs. the US dollar, the geopolitical situation, and due to the actions of our central bank (ZIRP).  It is my selected role to attempt to teach about all of these concepts at once through the act of stock selection and portfolio changes.  These stock portfolios are not intended to be their entire net worth – if it was, then I would recommend moving to something more similar to Portfolio 2, above.

Given that we use individual stocks, we need to “watch” these stocks, especially if they fall significantly and stay down in price.  We also look for stocks that might have hit their highs and are on their way down, although we would be more likely to “ride the winners” over the medium term.  Portfolios 2, 7 and 8 don’t have any stocks on watch.

Stocks on watch

Portfolio 1

  • Statoil (STO) – Norwegian oil company, hit by the fall in crude as well as the fall of the local currency vs. the US dollar.  Will hold – seems unlikely they will cut their dividend which supports their current price.  The company will likely raise their debt level which is sustainable.
  • Novartis (NVS) – Swiss drug company, a recent purchase.  We will see how earnings play out at the end of April and how the company presents forward guidance.

Portfolio 3

  • Linked In (LNKD) – Online business networking company that recently gave poor forward guidance and had its stock price cut in half.  We are going to continue to watch Linked In since it seems over sold but if it doesn’t move we will sell it.
  • Wynn (WYNN) – A casino operator with interests in China, hit recently by a crackdown on corruption and gambling in China.  The stock was in the 60’s and came back into the 90’s and is on the upswing.  Will look to see if it get’s into the 100’s and make a decision but don’t want to sell while it is rising.
  • ConocoPhillips (COP) – An oil and gas major, hit by the recent collapse in oil prices.  They reduced their dividend by 75% which impacted their stock price, as well.  We are going to watch the price of oil which drives many of the companies on this list.  It went from the high 20’s up crossing the 40 dollar barrier.  If it gets into the middle 40’s and stays there many of these companies will be in OK shape for holding

Portfolio 4

  • Coca Cola Femsa (KOF) – Central American Coca Cola distributor, hit by the decline in currency value against the US dollar and also turmoil in local countries.  KOF has bounced up from the 60’s and recently crossed $80 / share.  Will watch and see if it retains upward momentum after earnings.
  • Devon Energy (DVN) – US oil company hit by recent collapse in commodity prices.  We are going to watch the price of oil which drives many of the companies on this list.  It went from the high 20’s up crossing the 40 dollar barrier.  If it gets into the middle 40’s and stays there many of these companies will be in OK shape for holding
  • Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) – European oil company hit by the recent collapse in commodity prices and the Euro / UK Pound vs. the dollar.  We are going to watch the price of oil which drives many of the companies on this list.  It went from the high 20’s up crossing the 40 dollar barrier.  If it gets into the middle 40’s and stays there many of these companies will be in OK shape for holding
  • Statoil (STO) – Norwegian oil company, hit by the fall in crude as well as the fall of the local currency vs. the US dollar.  Will hold – seems unlikely they will cut their dividend which supports their current price.  The company will likely raise their debt level which is sustainable.
  • Oracle (ORCL) – while this stock has been doing well, Oracle faces severe competition from the cloud and resulting price pressures on their product.  Gross margins are still going up and they are claiming significant cloud earnings.  We will keep watching these trends
  • Linked In (LNKD) – Online business networking company that recently gave poor forward guidance and had its stock price cut in half.  We are going to continue to watch Linked In since it seems over sold but if it doesn’t move we will sell it.
  • Novartis (NVS) – Swiss drug company, a recent purchase.  We will see how earnings play out at the end of April and how the company presents forward guidance.

Portfolio 5

  • Linked In (LNKD) – Online business networking company that recently gave poor forward guidance and had its stock price cut in half.  We are going to continue to watch Linked In since it seems over sold but if it doesn’t move we will sell it.
  • ConocoPhillips (COP) – An oil and gas major, hit by the recent collapse in oil prices.  They reduced their dividend by 75% which impacted their stock price, as well.  We are going to watch the price of oil which drives many of the companies on this list.  It went from the high 20’s up crossing the 40 dollar barrier.  If it gets into the middle 40’s and stays there many of these companies will be in OK shape for holding

Portfolio 6

  • Coca Cola Femsa (KOF) – Central American Coca Cola distributor, hit by the decline in currency value against the US dollar and also turmoil in local countries.  KOF has bounced up from the 60’s and recently crossed $80 / share.  Will watch and see if it retains upward momentum after earnings.
  • Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) – European oil company hit by the recent collapse in commodity prices and the Euro / UK Pound vs. the dollar.  We are going to watch the price of oil which drives many of the companies on this list.  It went from the high 20’s up crossing the 40 dollar barrier.  If it gets into the middle 40’s and stays there many of these companies will be in OK shape for holding
  • ConocoPhillips (COP) – An oil and gas major, hit by the recent collapse in oil prices.  They reduced their dividend by 75% which impacted their stock price, as well.  We are going to watch the price of oil which drives many of the companies on this list.  It went from the high 20’s up crossing the 40 dollar barrier.  If it gets into the middle 40’s and stays there many of these companies will be in OK shape for holding

Portfolio Five Updated March 2016 – Tax Time

Portfolios four and five are 6 1/2 years old.  The beneficiary contributed $3500 and the trustee $7000 for a total of $10,500.  The current value is $10,435 for a loss of ($65) or (0.6%) or basically flat performance when adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  The spreadsheet detail can be found here or in the links on the right.

We sold Seaspan (SSW), Yahoo (YHOO) and Sasol (SSL) this year while buying Union Pacific (UNP), Tata Motors ADR (TTM) and ConocoPhillips (COP).  Right now ConocoPhillips (COP) is on watch after cutting their dividend 75%, and LinkedIn was hit hard during their recent earnings guidance, also putting the stock on watch.

We had some gains and losses this year the brokerage account makes it easy to calculate taxes since it includes the original cost basis as well as the sales information.

Portfolio Four Updated March 2016 – Tax Time

Portfolios four and five are 6 1/2 years old.  The beneficiary contributed $3500 and the trustee $7000 for a total of $10,500.  The current value is $10,137 for a loss of ($362) or (3.5%).  Adjusted for the timing of cash flows performance is (1%) negative a year.  See here for a spreadsheet with details or go to the link on the right.

We sold Seaspan (SSW) and Garmin (GRMN) this year.  We purchased Box (BOX), Novartis ADR (NVS), and Tesla (TSLA).

We have a number of stocks on watch.  Newly acquired Novartis (NVS) is not doing well, Coca-Cola FEMSA has been hit by exchange rates, Linked In (LKND) had a bad forward revenue guidance and their stock fell sharply on the news.  For oil companies, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B), Statoil (STO) and Devon Energy (DVN) have all been hit by the falling oil price.  Devon gave up on their dividend which hit the stock hard but Shell and Statoil are making cuts and borrowing to try to keep their dividend constant.

For taxes will send along the forms which helpfully now include a cost basis.

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.

Recent Stock Moves

Rise of the China Stock Market

When you are judging the success of your portfolio against benchmarks, which conceptually is a simple exercise, the question soon arises:

1) who are you comparing yourself against?

2) what currency is your benchmark denominated in?

Whether you want to invest there or not, China has had a major rally, and the Chinese Yuan is stable against the US dollar (in the range of 6 Yuan / dollar and 6.4 Yuan / Dollar over the last 3 years) as opposed to other currencies like the Euro and the Japanese Yen which have cratered in dollar terms.

The incredible rise in stocks in Chinese stock prices has mostly gone “under the radar” of US media.  Recently they connected the stocks in Hong Kong with stocks on mainland China and not only have prices risen substantially, the same stock trades for different prices in each location.  Per this WSJ article

Shares of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong look like a steal compared with shares of the same companies that are listed in Shanghai. Such stocks on average trade at a 32.89% discount in the former British colony, according to the Hang Seng China AH Premium Index.

Typically, under a concept called “arbitrage”, the price of equivalent items in different markets are narrowed when investors take steps to capture the “easy money” of buying that same good cheaper in a different place.  A very simple example is that you can’t have gasoline selling for $4 in one state and $3 in an adjacent state; everyone just crosses the border to buy the cheaper gas until the price differential narrows.  Gaps of a couple of percentage even across exchanges is enough for investors to jump in and take advantage; a 32% differential is extreme.

This rally isn’t due to a perception that the economy in China is getting better; in fact it seems to be getting worse.  The rally has been enhanced by structural moves that allow more investors into the market (largely retail mainland investors) and lets them buy stock on margin, as well.  Per this WSJ article:

Margin lending has more than tripled in the past year to a record 1.7 trillion yuan ($274.6 billion)…The practice isn’t unique to China, where margin debt equals 3.2% of total market capitalization, compared with 2.3% in the U.S. But when compared with the value of stock that is freely traded, making it accessible to ordinary investors, the percentage for China rises because state entities own more than half of the market.  Research by Macquarie Securities Group shows China’s margin-debt ratio at 8.2% of the free float. That easily exceeds the peak of 6% reached in the late 1990s in Taiwan, the second-highest level globally in recent years.

Thus if you didn’t have a proportionate share of your portfolio invested in Chinese stocks, you were a “relative” loser, although there are many reasons to believe that this rally isn’t sustainable.  This goes back to the original question of how benchmarks are defined.

Individual Stock Moves

In one of the portfolios I follow there have been significant and immediate moves in several of our stocks.  These stocks were related to China or the the technology industry.

Linked In (LKND) recently had an earnings call and their stock price plunged by over 20% in one day.  The cause of the drop wasn’t the earnings themselves (they beat expectations), it was their “forward guidance”.  For stocks with a high price / earnings multiple like Linked In, the market needs to have continued rapid growth to justify the high stock price today.  In fact, Linked In currently doesn’t book profits, primarily due to their high amounts of stock based compensation (stock given to executives in lieu of cash).  Linked In’s guidance talked about currency headwinds (meaning that if they brought in the same revenues overseas it would “count less” towards net income because of the rise in the US dollar) and also some one time acquisition costs from recent companies they’ve purchased.

Amazon (AMZN) had their last earnings call where they continued to show no profits on a GAAP basis and yet their stock rose 6.8% due to other factors that analysts apparently found compelling.  Note that a 6.8% gain for a company the size of Amazon is a large increase in market capitalization (over $10 billion) in a single day.

China Life Insurance ADR (LFC) has almost doubled from around $40 / share to $80 / share as part of the overall China rally discussed above.  While a seemingly sound stock this performance gain is not tied to any fundamentals in how the company operates; this growth is tied to the giant overall rally.

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) dropped more than 10% in a single day after earnings were released.  Wynn has a property in Macau (China’s only location with legal gambling) and it has been hit hard with a recent crackdown on high-roller gamblers by China’s communist leaders.  Note that the scale of gambling in China dwarfs Las Vegas by any measure (total market, amount bet per player, etc…) and thus properties in China have been proportionally more lucrative than their US equivalent.  It is not known whether this will be a long term reduction of high rolling gamblers or a short term hit; that depends on inscrutable Chinese government polices.  Left to their own devices, it is highly likely that Chinese would continue to gamble at record rates.  Wynn also has long running board issues and governance issues as well.  At risk is their dividend, which “income investors” price highly in an era of virtually zero yield on debt (without taking on significant risk).

Westpac (ADR) – the Australian bank slightly missed earnings and their stock went down almost 5%, but then recovered a bit and was down 3%.  The CEO said that flat earnings won’t be tolerated in a later interview.  Unlike those companies with little or no GAAP profits (Amazon, LinkedIn), a company like Westpac won’t usually fall as much with a minor earnings miss because it has a lower P/E ratio and incredible future profit growth isn’t already “baked in” to the stock price.

Seeing large moves in single stocks can be viewed as a sign of a bull market in its last stages.  Since we invest for the long term we don’t pull in and out of the market based on short term moves but it is definitely something to consider; stocks with limited earnings and high P/E ratios or tied to giant rallies like is occurring in China today should be on some sort of watch.

Cross posted at Chicago Boyz

Portfolio Four Updated October 2014

Portfolios Four and Five are each 5 years old, with the beneficiary contributing $3000 and the trustee $6000, for a total of $9000.  The current value is $10,856 for a gain of $1856 or 20%, or about 5% / year adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  Check the detailed spreadsheet here or on the links to the right.

We will watch the new holdings Coca Cola FEMSA (hit by rising US dollar) and LinkedIn (hit by recent turmoil in internet stocks).  We also have seen some declines lately in oil stocks caused by drops in the price of oil (there are three in the portfolio, Devon, Statoil and Shell).  Finally, Nucor came above our purchase price after years of waiting and has dropped 15% recently on fears of a global slowdown.

Portfolio Three Updated October 2014

Portfolio three is our third longest lived portfolio, at seven years.  The beneficiary contributed $4000 and the trustee $8000, for a total of $12,000.  The current value is $13,638, for a gain of $1638 or 15%, or 3% / year adjusted over the life of the portfolio.  Go here for the spreadsheet detail or click on the link on the right.

The portfolio has almost half turned over in the last year, as 5 new stocks were added, out of the 11 total.  A recent purchase LinkedIn has had some turmoil with the tech stock issues but is a good longer term play, but we will watch it.  We are also watching Weibo, a Chinese internet stock hit by the same tech turmoil.

From the more traditional stocks, Siemens has been hit as the Euro has fallen vs. the dollar recently.  We will also watch Yahoo to see what happens with the Alibaba stock they own post IPO.

Of the stocks we’ve sold, mostly it is good riddance.  In particular Cliffs’ Resources went off a cliff since we sold it, down from $18 to $7.  The stock perhaps could be a good candidate for a purchase in the future as a value play.  We are trying not to ride stocks like that too far down.

Stock Selections for 2014

It is time to select 2014 stocks.  Generally each fund selects 2 new stocks, although there are some significant cash balances available on the other funds (due to stock sales) and they may need to pick more than 2.  Each year we offer a mix of US and non-US stocks for selection.

US Stocks

Linked In (LKND) – $201 / share, $24B market cap, 52 week range $136-$258, no dividend, no debt.  Linked In is a growing and well run web company for business professionals to make contacts and find new opportunities.  They recently had excellent earnings for Q2 2014

Exxon Mobil (XOM) – $99 / share, $424B market cap, 52 week range $84-$104, 2.7% dividend, $11B long term debt.  Exxon Mobil is viewed as the best run energy company in the world and has a disciplined use of capital with a long term horizon.

General Motors (GM) – $33 / share, $53B market cap, 52 week range $31-$41, 3.3% dividend, $40B debt.  While GM has been in the news recently regarding recall efforts, they have a long term growth story with their presence in China and the growth of vehicles in that market, which passed the US in terms of cars purchased and has larger growth opportunities

eBay (eBay)  – $52 / share, $65B market cap, 52 week range $48-$59, no dividend, $5B debt.  eBay is a well run e-commerce company that also owns the payments company PayPal.  They have moved successfully to mobile and offer many products with “buy it now” and not just auction sales.

Foreign Stocks

Anheuser Busch Inbev (BUD) – $107 / share, $171B market cap, 52 week range $92-$116, 1.9% dividend, $49B debt. The iconic US company that makes Budweiser was bought by hard-charging Brazilians and headquartered in Belgium.  This is the dominant worldwide beer company.

Weibo Corp (WB) – $19 / share, $6B market cap, 52 week range $16-$24, no dividend, little debt.  Weibo runs a Chinese microblogging platform.  It is kind of a Chinese twitter.  They release earnings on August 5 we will also see the market reaction to those results.

Coca-Cola Femsa (KOF) – $108 / share, $22B market cap, 52 week range $92-$149, 1% dividend, $4B debt.  This Mexican company runs the successful Coca-Cola franchise along with beverages in many other latin and Spanish speaking countries.

China Life Insurance (LFC)  – $44 / share, $83B market cap, 52 week range $35-$49, 1.6% dividend, $14B debt.  China Life Insurance is a large insurer in mainland China, where the population is aging and opportunities for insurance will grow as a result.