Portfolio Update August, 2019

As of August 2019, our combined portfolios are back to where they were in August of last year. This is mostly in line with VTI (Vanguard US market ETF) which was up about 3% and VEU (non US market ETF which was up about 1%).

Below are stocks to consider selling prior to the new purchases:

Portfolio One:

  • Nnvidia (NVDA) – the once high flying chipmaker stock is hit with slowing growth
  • Equinor (EQNR) – former Statoil is a Norwegian oil company hit by falling price of their currency and anti-oil sentiment in their own country

Portfolio Three:

  • Baidu (BIDU) – Chinese search engine less relevant in mobile era and new investments not yet paying off
  • Nnvidia (NVDA) – the once high flying chipmaker stock is hit with slowing growth
  • ConocoPhillips (COP) – US oil company hit by lower energy prices and relatively smaller footprint

Portfolio Four:

  • Equinor (EQNR) – former Statoil is a Norwegian oil company hit by falling price of their currency and anti-oil sentiment in their own country
  • Nnvidia (NVDA) – the once high flying chipmaker stock is hit with slowing growth
  • Box (BOX) – US SAAS provider not yet acquired by larger company and hit by recent earnings miss
  • Oracle (ORCL) – very well run and doing huge stock by back but trends running against this on premise software stock
  • Westpac (WBK) – Australian bank hit with tough regulatory, business, and real estate impacts

Portfolio Five:

  • Baidu (BIDU) – Chinese search engine less relevant in mobile era and new investments not yet paying off
  • Juniper (JNPR) – US networking company not yet taken over.  Reasonably well run with dividend but in a difficult space
  • ConocoPhillips (COP) – US oil company hit by lower energy prices and relatively smaller footprint
  • Westpac (WBK) – Australian bank hit with tough regulatory, business, and real estate impacts

Portfolio Six:

  • Baidu (BIDU) – Chinese search engine less relevant in mobile era and new investments not yet paying off
  • Nnvidia (NVDA) – the once high flying chipmaker stock is hit with slowing growth
  • ConocoPhillips (COP) – US oil company hit by lower energy prices and relatively smaller footprint

Portfolio Eight:

  • Nnvidia (NVDA) – the once high flying chipmaker stock is hit with slowing growth

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 Four Updated July, 2017

Portfolio four is almost 8 years old.  The beneficiary contributed $4000 and the trustee $8000 for a total of $12,000.  The current value is $15,082 for a gain of $3,082 or a 5% rate of return, adjusted for the timing of cash flows.  See detailed PDF here or go to the link on the right side of the page.

The portfolio has some technology stocks that are doing quite well, which include Box and Oracle (you could also call Tesla a partial technology stock, as well).  The oil stocks of Devon, Shell and Statoil have generally been hit by the continued fall in oil prices.  The stock prices of Shell and Statoil have held up better than Devon because they kept their high dividends; Devon cut their dividend and has continued to fall (there are other factors at play as well).

It is important in all these portfolios not to just look at the current share price when compared with the purchase price; you need to take into account dividends, as well.  The oil stocks look bad on stock price alone but when cumulative dividends paid are tracked as well, the situation is much better.  That does not mean that we should hold stocks just for the dividends, but it is a very important factor in long run performance.  To date this portfolio has earned $1735 in dividends, which makes up more than half of the total return earned to date.

Portfolio Post Election

After the elections, stocks have generally gone up. Some sectors have done well, and others have fallen. The US dollar is stronger, which means that our overseas stocks have gone down on a relative basis.

We are judicious on selling off stocks here. However, since the election is past it is likely time to make a few moves in some areas.

Portfolio One:

  • Novartis (NVS)– the Swiss drug maker is down about 20% from where we bought it (but has almost a 4% dividend), and drug makers seem to be under pressure with the new administration calling for price reductions. On watch will look at the next earnings release at the end of January
  • Statoil (STO) – the Norwegian oil company is down 20% off our purchase price but has come back significantly with possible increases in oil prices.  They also didn’t cut their dividend which remains a high 6% yield which also is positive for investors.  Will watch and see if it rises further
  • Infosys (INFY) – Infosys has fallen about 25% off its peak.  The company benefits from the declining Indian currency since most of its revenues are earned overseas.  However, the offshore firms have also been hit by the new administration and potential curbs on outsourcing, which they are trying to limit by having more US based staff and less overseas contractors.  The company is on watch
  • Tesla Motors (TSLA) – this is a very speculative stock (little earnings, high valuation) and has high volatility.  We will keep it on watch
  • Anheuser Busch Inbev – the stock has dropped by over 30% recently as they attempt to purchase Miller Coors.  They also have been hit with economic volatility in Brazil.   They are a well run group but these are strong headwinds.  We will put the stock on watch

Portfolio Two:

Portfolio Two moved over to ETF’s and CD’s.  Their ETF’s have been doing well with the exception of the NASDAQ Biotech ETF (IBB) in which we have a relatively small position that is new.  We will continue to watch this sector ETF.

Portfolio Three:

  • Wynn (WYNN) – the casino stock is a major operator in China.  The stock is down over 30% and no longer delivering “special” dividends beyond the regular quarterly dividend.  We will sell the stock now
  • Infosys (INFY) – Infosys has fallen about 25% off its peak.  The company benefits from the declining Indian currency since most of its revenues are earned overseas.  However, the offshore firms have also been hit by the new administration and potential curbs on outsourcing, which they are trying to limit by having more US based staff and less overseas contractors.  The company is on watch

Portfolio Four:

  • Coca-Cola FEMSA (KOF) – the Central American distributor of Coke is 40% off from our purchase price,  been hit by various issues and negative currency fluctuations and now finally the current administration.  We will sell the stock now
  • Tesla Motors (TSLA) – this is a very speculative stock (little earnings, high valuation) and has high volatility.  We will keep it on watch
  • Novartis (NVS)– the Swiss drug maker is down about 20% from where we bought it (but has almost a 4% dividend), and drug makers seem to be under pressure with the new administration calling for price reductions. On watch will look at the next earnings release at the end of January
  • Statoil (STO) – the Norwegian oil company is down 20% off our purchase price but has come back significantly with possible increases in oil prices.  They also didn’t cut their dividend which remains a high 6% yield which also is positive for investors.  Will watch and see if it rises further
  • Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) – the European oil company is down almost 20% on price but has been rising and hasn’t cut the over 6% dividend.  Will watch and see if it rises further
  • Devon (DVN) – unlike Statoil and Shell, Devon did cut their dividend and is down about 20% on price.   However, the stock is up almost 2 1/2 times off its low so we will hold it as it keeps recovering.  Will watch and see if it rises further

Portfolio Five:

  • Anheuser Busch Inbev – the stock has dropped by over 30% recently as they attempt to purchase Miller Coors.  They also have been hit with economic volatility in Brazil.   They are a well run group but these are strong headwinds.  We will put the stock on watch
  • Juniper (JNPR) – Juniper had been down significantly but now is above our purchase price.  We will watch this stock as an acquisition candidate and may sell if it stops rising.  This stock is on watch

Portfolio Six:

  • Coca-Cola FEMSA (KOF) – the Central American distributor of Coke is 40% off from our purchase price,  been hit by various issues and negative currency fluctuations and now finally the current administration.  We will sell the stock now

Portfolio Seven:

  • Unilever (UNLV) – Unilever is down about 14% off peak due to the reduction in the value of the British pound and other factors.  This is a recent purchase and a well run company we will put the stock on watch

Portfolio Eight:

  • Unilever (UNLV) – Unilever is down about 14% off peak due to the reduction in the value of the British pound and other factors.  This is a recent purchase and a well run company we will put the stock on watch

 

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 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 Four Updated October 2015

Portfolios 4 and 5 are both 6 years old.  Portfolio 4 has $3500 in beneficiary contributions and $7000 in trustee contributions for a total of $10,500.  The current value is $10,892 for a gain of $392 or 3.7%, which is about 0.9% / year.  You can see the details here or go to the links on the right.

The portfolio has several stocks that are on watch.  We have been holding on to Coca Cola Femsa (KOF) which is the Mexican coke bottler but the Mexican currency (Peso) has fallen heavily vs. the US dollar.  Devon Energy (DVN) has been hit hard by the commodity crash, although it is well run and pretty well hedged.  Garmin (GRMN) has also fallen recently on reduced earnings guidance.  Wal-Mart (WMT) is still up significantly from our purchase price but recent earnings guidance was poor and that stock fell too.  Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) and Statoil (STO) have also been impacted by falling oil prices, although Shell’s decision to stop arctic drilling is a good one from a financial perspective (the price of oil has made those wells uneconomic).  Seaspan (SSW) has a high price buoyed by a large dividend but that may not be sustainable.

Portfolio One Updated October 2015

Portfolio One is our longest lived portfolio, at 14 years.  It started right after 9/11 and has tracked the ups and downs of the stock market since then.

The beneficiary has contributed $7000 and the trustee $15,500 for a total of $22,500.  The current value of the portfolio is $34,648, a gain of $12,148 or 54% since inception, at a rate of about 5.5% / year.  To date dividends have contributed over $5000 towards the value of this portfolio.  You can download the portfolio here or go to the links on the right.

For the year to date, the portfolio stocks are down about 7%, compared with the S&P 500 being up 2% and the non-US index down about 6% (in US Dollar terms).  The portfolio is roughly half US and half non US and the increased downturn is due to our concentration in resource stocks and some currencies that depreciated significantly vs. the US Dollar.

There are 19 stocks in the portfolio, with an average value of about $1700.  The largest position is Exxon (XOM) at about $3000 and there are 2 stocks under $1000, Statoil (STO) and Trans-Alta Corporation (TAC).  It isn’t a co-incidence that STO and TAC have been hit by the recent commodity price downturn (Exxon too, although not as much).  The goal would be to have less than 20 or so stocks in the portfolio.

There has been a lot of volatility in the market and we’ve been holding off on selling to see how the dust settles.  We may make some sales prior to reinvesting the new stock selections for 2015.  Items that we are considering for sale are TransAlta (TAC), Yahoo (YHOO), Garmin (GRMN), and Wal-Mart (WMT), although we don’t want to make hasty actions based on short term moves (this mainly applies to Wal-Mart).

Stock Sales Summer 2015

We have been watching the markets and trends and there are some stocks that we will cull prior to the next round of investing.

Coca-Cola Femsa (KOF) – this is basically the Mexican and Latin American Coca-Cola distributor.  Per their last earnings release:

“As beverage transactions continued to outpace volumes across our operations- reinforcing our daily consumer engagement – we are encouraged by our operators’ positive performance in the midst of a challenging environment, marked by weak consumer trends in Brazil, a slowly recovering consumer landscape in Mexico, and currency volatility across our markets. On a comparable basis, we delivered high single-digit consolidated revenue growth and double-digit operating income growth during the quarter.”

What they mean by “comparable basis” is that the currencies of Mexico, Brazil and other countries such as Argentina have collapsed and they are still making a lot of sales but the sales are worth less when they are converted into the US dollar or some other index as they were in prior periods.

So what do we do?  Do we hold on and wait for the dollar to fall and / or their currencies to rise?  The company seems well run (they have growing transactions) and Coca-Cola is never going away, and these countries have a rising middle class and growing populations (unlike most of the world) to consume more goods in the future.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) – Shell has been pummeled by the commodity price slump.  They are also based in the UK / Europe so they face an additional currency overhang when translated into US dollars.  They also were “acquirers” of a natural gas company in the midst of these events which means they paid a premium price in a time of decline.  The most worrisome element, however, is that they continue their high risk plan of drilling for ice in the volatile and difficult arctic, at a time of reduced oil prices (which makes high cost investments like deep water drilling even riskier).  They also have a relatively higher chance of environmental catastrophe which will be very difficult to clean up given the paucity of local resources and the ferocious environment in the far north.  They are a sell.  If we want to “buy low” in the oil or natural gas business there are better candidates.

Trans Alta (TAC) – Trans Alta is a Canadian power generator.  They have strong exposure to coal and also the Canadian commodity boom / bust which consumes much of their electricity.  They pay a strong dividend (for now) but it has been reduced as the company struggles.  Future dividend cuts would impact the company even further.  Given the combination of the poorer Canadian economy and currency, the dire forecast for coal, and the commodity bust, this is a sell.

Wynn (WYNN) – Wynn is a gaming operator with operations in Macau, the only area of China where their gambling-mad citizens are allowed to play.  There are also many other more subtle elements to this infatuation with gambling including an ability to move currency out of the country, which is otherwise difficult to do.  Recently the new Chinese premier (dictator?) has cracked down on certain types of ostentatious corruption (generally among those who are not politically allied with him, since “corruption” is embedded into all aspects of their command economy) which has hurt gambling.  But Wynn is a shrewd operator and he is expanding capacity and likely this too, shall pass.  It is hard to sit while revenues and profits decline, however.

Exxon (XOM), Statoil (STO), and Devon (DVN) – these energy giants (Exxon is the biggest, but Statoil is unique since it is from Norway, and Devon is smaller but well run) have all been hurt badly by the reduction in oil and natural gas prices.  For now, unlike Shell above, I think it makes sense to stick with them.

Seaspan (SSW) – Seaspan owns container ships that travel between China and overseas destinations and has been investing in a new, fuel efficient fleet.  Seaspan has a very high dividend (8%) which they have been able to sustain so far.  On the one hand they seem to be a good operator but overall Chinese exports are faltering and if there is a general fall in the market they likely will still be able to rent out their newer, fuel efficient craft but the rate that they would receive would be correspondingly lower.  This one is on the edge.

Westpac Banking (WBK), Canadian Imperial Bank (CIB), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) – the first bank is Australian and the latter two are Canadian.  These banks are generally well run but all have been hit by the depreciation of their currencies vs. the US dollar, and the fact that they are exposed to real-estate “bubbles” in the Australian and Canadian markets.  As the commodity markets fall, the entire country can be hit with reduced services, demand and an overall high level of debt.  These are on watch.

Portfolio Four Updated March 2015 – And It’s Tax Time

Portfolios four and five are both five and a half years old. The beneficiary has invested $3000, the trustee $600, for a total of $9000. The fund value is $11,051 for a gain of $2051 or 22%, which works out to about 5.9% / year across the life of the portfolio. You can see the details here or go to the links on the right side of the page.

The portfolio has many dividend stocks and in 2014 earned $341, or a yield of about 3.2% / year. That is a great yield and helps performance over the long term. There were no stock sales in 2014.

Currently we have a few stocks on watch:

– Nucor (NUE) – the US steel maker downgraded its profit targets since the US is being “flooded” with foreign steel from loss making state owned companies (primarily in China). It is surprising that the stock didn’t fall further with this decline in earnings guidance
– Devon (DVN), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) and Statoil (STO) have all been hit by the crashing price of oil. Also Shell and Statoil are in UK Pounds and Norwegian Kroner and both of these currencies have declined vs. the US dollar, which adds to the difficulties. For now we are holding on to these although they also are on watch
– Coca Cola Femsa is the latin America (Mexico mainly) distributor of Coke. It has been hit by the declining peso like all foreign investments. We will hold but likely put a collar on this stock in case it falls much further. Would be good to have investments in Mexico since it is a rising economy

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.

Stocks to Review – December 2014

In order to decide what we should sell or keep, we need to review the stocks that have been hit across the six portfolios.  There are 12 stocks listed and grouped across the various industries and regions.

We will look by group to determine what we recommend to do next based on the specific circumstances of that stock and the factors that caused their valuation to change.  If it is a dividend related stock, we will also start to think if their dividend is “at risk”, because that would likely trigger another price drop.  Many of these stocks have rebounded off their lows, which makes this task easier.

Of the stocks reviewed, the ones we will watch closely will be Anadarko (APC), Sasol (SSL), TransAlta (TAC), Weibo (WB), Seaspan (SSW), and Coca-Cola Femsa (KOF).  We will consider stop losses on these stocks.

US Energy

  • Exxon Mobil (XOM)
  • Devon (DVN)
  • Anadarko (APC)

Of the 3 US energy companies, Exxon Mobil is a long term keeper because it is so well and ruthlessly run.  They have a reasonable dividend of about 3% that doesn’t seem to be at risk.  XOM may even be a candidate for further purchases if it keeps declining in the short term.

Devon is much smaller than XOM.  Their dividend is not as good, under 2%, but that also means that they aren’t being forced to support an unmanageable dividend burden.  From what I’ve read they seem to have hedged against falling oil prices which should insulate them a bit in the short term.  Devon also could be an acquisition candidate at some point although their market cap is $24B so only a giant like XOM could take them out.

Anadarko (APC) (like XOM and DVN) hit a 52 week low, but bounced back recently.  Their dividend at 1.4% is low and doesn’t seem to be at risk.  The company also has financial flexibility.  We are on the edge with APC if the oil rout is extended this may not be a stock to hold.  For now we are holding on with the rebound in energy prices off their lows, but this is on watch.

Global Energy (ADR)

  • Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B)
  • Sasol (SSL)
  • Statoil (STO)

These global energy companies not only are hit by the drop in crude (see above), but also the decline in foreign currencies vs. the rising US dollar.

Statoil (STO) is denominated in Norwegian Kroner.  Over the last year the Kroner has declined 20% vs. the US dollar.  This means that our ADR has fallen 20% additional beyond the impact of other (negative) factors on the STO stock.  On the other hand, in the past the rising Kroner has boosted returns compared against US equivalent stocks, and provides diversification should the US dollar fall.  Statoil is likely going to defer some major deep water projects since those are not economical at the current oil price.  The dividend is now over 6% with the stock price decline; in general when dividends go much beyond 5% they often turn out to be unsustainable, or in any case should be watched closely.  The Norwegian government also holds a significant stake in this company, which allows them to impact behavior, but they seem to be a prudent steward (compared to partially public or state owned oil companies in Mexico or Brazil, for instance).

Shell (RDS.B) are denominated in UK pounds, which has fallen 5% this year vs. the US dollar.  Shell seems to be in relatively good shape, but the stock (like virtually all energy stocks) is near its 52 week low.  Their dividend is at almost 6% which seems sustainable for now but may not be in the long term.  They seem to be taking steps with their asset portfolio by country to sell components to optimize the company, which seems prudent.

Sasol (SSL) is denominated in South African Rand, which has fallen 11% vs. the US dollar.  SSL is a large energy company for Africa, but is much smaller than the other global majors.  The dividend is near 6%, a level to watch closely.  The stock at one point lost almost 50% of its value and may be a buy at this point or for consideration.  This stock seems more speculative than Statoil and Shell up above (which makes sense because each of the other companies are much larger) which means it is on watch (like APC, above).  On the other hand, since it is smaller, it has more room to grow on the high end in terms of stock price.

Canadian Energy (ADR)

  • TransAlta (TAC) – TransAlta is a Canadian energy company primarily operating in the electricity business.  They also have substantial and growing interests in Australia.  The company has been hit with a big fall in electricity prices in its main provence, Alberta, which means it earns substantially less revenue on the power it generates (most of the company’s costs are fixed in the short and medium term, so this goes straight to the bottom line).  The long term bet on why power use is growing in Alberta, however, is the oil industry so this stock is significantly impacted by the same forces (low oil prices) as the other stocks listed above, in a medium or longer term horizon.  The stock has a large dividend, at 7%, which means it definitely is on watch.  If the company decided to cut the dividend (for whatever reason), it is likely that the price of the stock would fall.  Many investors likely own this stock for income purposes.  As an ADR, they also are driven by the fall in the Canadian dollar, which has dropped about 8% vs. the US dollar over the last year

Chinese Internet (ADR)

  • Weibo (WB) – Weibo is a Chinese internet company, sometimes called their version of Twitter.  Alibaba, the giant of Chinese e-commerce (their Amazon), owns a 14% stake in WB, and in September the stock shot up because of speculation that Alibaba might buy the company or increase their ownership.  Chinese stocks are generally volatile and the tech industry is particularly so.  The stock has gone up recently, but is near a 52 week low.  This one is also on watch but seems to have a reasonable upside, especially if it was swallowed up.

US Technology

  • Amazon (AMZN) – Amazon is, to (partially) quote Winston Churchill, “a riddle wrapped in an enigma”.  The company is a powerhouse, altering whole industries and taking a giant role in e-commerce.  The founder is famously frugal and uses old doors as desks for employees.  Also – the company doesn’t make profits or focus on short term profits.  They continue to invest and to move into new markets.  This company is probably the hardest company in the world to analyze as a result and I personally have had more arguments about Amazon than any other stock.  To be clear, we had it at $14, and I sold at over $100, taking almost an 8x gain, but then it marched all the way to $400 / share, and now has lost about 25% off its peak and is near $300 (we bought most recently at $337).  The market seems to generally believe in Amazon so this is a keeper, even though as an accountant I am often perplexed.

Chinese Shipping (ADR)

  • Seaspan (SSW) – Seaspan is a smaller company that ships goods back and forth primarily to China.  They now have a very high dividend, near 7%, so that is something to watch.  If they ever cut this dividend I would expect that the stock price would be significantly impacted.  The stock price fell on SSW, but bounced back from its 52 week lows.  Even if China itself is slowing in terms of growth the demand for Chinese goods worldwide is still rapacious.  The company is also looking to upgrade their fleet continually to make it more fuel efficient in terms of scale.  On the other hand, shipping is a difficult business in a downturn, as shippers cut rates to near the marginal costs of running their fleet, just to keep afloat (bad pun).  If SSW has a more fuel efficient fleet than most, it should be able to withstand a downturn longer than competitors.  This is a stock on watch.

Casino / China

  • Wynn (WYNN) – Wynn at one point lost almost half their value on concerns over Chinese cutbacks in gambling.  China has a huge gambling culture (wagers at Chinese casinos on average are much higher than in the USA) and there is only one place in China where you can gamble, and WYNN has a casino there.  Much of the Chinese gambling is also a method to move money out of the country, a much more complex topic than I could cover here, but it is safe to say that gambling in China is a much more serious business than it is in the USA.  The current Chinese leader is cracking down on “corruption” (I use parenthesis because the whole business culture is corrupt in a mega-sense, but he is talking about specific behavior elements like lavish behavior with official money) and this means gambling.  WYNN does have an attractive dividend and special dividend and in the long term (unless they open casinos on the mainland) they can recapture money as soon as the official glare goes away.

Mexico / Consumer Staples (ADR)

  • Coca Cola FEMSA (KOF) – Like our other ADR’s, the Mexican Peso has been hit by a 10% drop in value vs. the US dollar, which weighs on this ADR.  It is off 52 week lows but has lost 1/3 of its value over the last 12 months.  The stock has a modest dividend so it is looked at as a long term growth play on the Latin American market.  The stock is on watch due to performance and low dividend but, like Chinese gambling, it is a hard market to walk away from since it is hot and bottled drinks of sugar and beer seem like a safer bet in the long term too.

Portfolio Four Quick Update December 2014

Coca Cola Mexico was hit by the poor performance of the Mexican dollar vs. the US Dollar.  Shell and Statoil were hit by the oil rout and the rising US dollar.  Seaspan is impacted by the US currency changes but mainly is tied to the perceived strength of the Chinese economy which seems to be at risk of slowing down and a narrow earnings miss.  Devon energy was hit by the oil rout.

Portfolio_4_12-12-14