We’re half-way through the year and so I thought it would be a good time to check back into my ROBO portfolio to see how it’s doing and if there is anything interesting going on. Three and half years ago I decided to try an experiment and find out for myself. I setup an account with one of the big Robo Adviser firms and invested $5000 of my own money into it. My goal was to go through the process and blog about my experience and more importantly, the results. I said that we need a good five years to really get a handle on how effective these services are compared to traditional wealth management services. Well, we're coming upon the 4th anniversary of my ROBO account, so in this episode I take a look at how it’s doing at the mid-year mark.
The cornerstone of my investment coaching practice is to teach and engage with people on how to educated and ultimately successful investment decisions involving stocks and Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s). It’s one thing to teach this stuff. It’s another thing to model the behavior and it’s a totally different thing to actually demonstrate tangible results. Several years ago I decided to dig up my past trading records and to identify the most recent 100 investment decisions I made and to see how faired. In this episode I review my most recent results for my last 100 investment decisions.
You can't go one direction in the stock market these days without hearing something about Tesla. It has become the classic retail stock. Their CEO has said a few things recently that have had the markets in a tizzy. I've never really looked at Tesla stock because just eyeballing it, it looked overpriced. Well I thought with all the hysteria going on that maybe this is a good time to dive in and have a look at the company. This is my mind map video on my quick analysis of Tesla to see if it may be worth picking up.
Just because it's summer doesn't mean you lift your foot off the investing pedal. I ended up making several moves in June as some of my positions had crossed my return threshold and I had to make some decision on whether to hold on or sell and bank the profit. I also made a decision to add another stock to my portfolio as well as remove a hedging position.
Bought more shares in Big Lots (BIG)
Bought more shares in Southwest Airlines (LUV)
Sold shares in Williams Sonoma (WSM)
Sold shares in Baidu (BIDU)
Sold shares in Gold ETF (CGL)
New Addition: Bought shares in Starbucks (SBUX)
Starbucks stock has been getting crushed the last few months. Weak forecasts, some not so great PR events started taking the stock down. It got me interested to see if it may be worth picking up as it seems to be out of favour by Wall Street. In this podcast I walk through my thought process that led me to buy shares in Starbucks.
Fitting into my theme of investing in companies that can own the OS, JD.com is positioning itself to become a real player in online retailing. It has been one of the big players in the China market and it is looking to branch out to other parts of Asia. It is very aligned with other players like Tencent and Walmart and aggressively building out its retail ecosystem channels. The stock has been falling and some say the US trade tariff sabre rattling has put pressure on China stocks. In this episode I share my mind map exercise that I used to evaluate and ultimately led to my decision to buy into JD.com.
UPDATE #1: Since I made the decision, some significant news has come out. It was announced that Alphabet had made a $550 milliondollar investment in JD. I think its a big deal in that it validates JD's value proposition. JD has now entered partnerships with Alphabet, TenCent, and Walmart. These are companies that are aggressively trying to build out online ecosystems to own the OS for distribution in retail. Whoever can control that online platform has a good chance at building durable competitive advantage. Whatever happens, JD has connections with all the main players. The Alphabet connection also signals that both parties are looking to take on Amazon.
Update #2: Since the Alphabet announcement, more events have occurred, specifically from the Mad King himself, who pondering restricting Chinese companies from investing in American technology companies. I wonder now if the JD/Alphabet partnership is now in doubt given the Eye of Sauron is now looking upon China quite aggressively. I cite the potential of a tariff tit-for-tat as serious risk factor that could negatively impact JD.com and other China stocks.
UPDATE #3: Sold shares in JD.com (Ticker: JD) for 28.5 percent loss (Net Forex). This was a tough one. I still think the fundamentals of the business are quite solid as they are aggressively positioning themselves being the OS for retail in China and Asia. They have aligned themselves with some heavy weights (Walmart, Tencent, Google) to build out a formidable retail ecosystem.
So what changed my thinking? Math. The stock fell through the $30 level and my loss position was well over 20 percent. Basic math tells me that the stock would have to pop back over 25 percent to just get to break-even, which given the volatile nature of the stock is quite possible.
The other factor comes to governance. Richard Liu the CEO was arrested for alleged assault and then released in the US in August. He since returned to China. The police said the charges could not be substantiated and so he was released. There have been rumblings that this is not the first time this has happened and so there is a serious cloud on the leadership. Adding to this is that the management structure has been setup so that Liu because of his significant ownership of shares can still run the company. This is a big distraction and I think this will stick to the company.
I was down 28.5 percent which means the stock would have to up almost 40 percent for me to break-even which I think will be pretty tough under this current dynamic. Following my playbook on managing with losses, I decided to sell now and move on. It’s a tough one as at one point the stock was trading in the high $40’s and so I was in a good position. That’s the way investing goes sometimes.
MGM has not been on my watchlist and I really wasn't thinking about getting into casino stocks but a recent Supreme Court decisions that essentially legalized sports gambling in the US I thought was a game changer movement that could really put gaming companies in a strong position to move. I did a quick scan and MGM appeared to be not the most producing gaming company but what drew me was management's foresight to build out sports betting platforms and services in the anticipation of the legalization of sports betting. In this episode I do a quick deep dive that lead me to the decision to buy some MGM stock.
I've had Johnson and Johnson on my watch list for a long time. I've held it in the past and I got a pretty good return on it. After I sold when it was in the $70's the stock kept on moving and literally doubled. I thought I may never get back in but the stock since the start of the year has been falling and it went down into the mid $120's when I thought it would be good to take a look again. In this episode I do a quick dive into JNJ to see if it is still worthy to include in my portfolio.
April was calmer in terms of investment decisions compared to the past few months. With markets zigging and zagging at a much more frequent rate now, opportunities to buy some stocks and ETF’s have presented themselves. At the same time there have been some opportunities to bank some healthy profits. That’s the way markets go. Opportunities don’t set a time to arrive. They show up when they want to. That is why it is always it’s critical to have an investing playbook that reflects your investing ideology so when those moments arrive, you are not just staring at your toes wondering what to do. In April a couple of opportunities came up that I really didn’t have specifically on my Wish List, but they fit into some of core investing ideology in terms of exposure to sectors I would like to be invested in. In this episode I walk through investment decisions I made in April.
As an Investment Coach, I spend a good amount of time working with people who are new to investing. Often one of the first questions I get from someone who is new to investing is "I want to learn how to invest are often in the form of: What stocks should I buy?" or "I have $10,000 I would like to invest. What stocks should I buy for the next 10 years?" I've been asking myself lately, why people believe that default position for investing must involve buying and selling stocks? The reality is buying and selling Facebook or bank stocks should not be your first thought when it comes to investing. In this episode, I try to figure out why people have this mindset and how it can have a devastating impact on your investing experience.
This is the third and last in a series of episodes where I walk through my investment decisions I made in March. In this episode, I share my thought process that lead me to buy shares in Southwest Airlines.
In Part 2 of my Investment Decisions series podcasts for March, (iTunes, Google Play, podcast, mind map video) I walk through the thought process that led me to my decision to buy some shares in Big Lots.
After the mini-meltdown in early February, stock prices boomeranged and made back a good chunk of their losses. In some cases the bounce was pretty big and it forced me to make a few decisions. There were a few days where the market tanked pretty big and I used them as opportunities to open some new positions. Like the previous month, I've decided to break down my decisions into 3 parts. In this post episode (blog post), I will review my decisions to buy more shares and sell some shares. The other two episodes will focus on my decisions to buy shares in Southwest Airlines (blog, podcast, mind map video) and Big Lots (blog, podcast, mind map video).
RANT ALERT: Another annual Real Estate Wealth Expo has made its way through my home town. This year some serious star power was on display. Baseball players, Pop Musicians, and Dragons were regaling attendees and their slightly open wallets with tales of how to escape the rat race and live the 6-49 lifestyle. People leaving these events usually seem to feel they are on their way to financial independence or at the very least got a good cardio workout. Unfortunately the whole thing is a scam. My rant is not about the concept as Real Estate Expos like this are just the latest iteration of get-rich-schemes that prey upon the gullible. What got me concerned was the response by people, especially on social media.Read More
I've referred often to the stock market as the Teflon Stock Market because it seems that any small or major socio-political-economic event that gets occurs is casually brushed off by investors. Nothing seems to stick to this market. The day the Mad King got elected the market went down 1500 points but after digesting it, it went on to set record high's on an almost daily basis. I also think about how much technology has changed investing landscape and wonder if these elements are creating a situation where bear market cycles are getting shorter and shorter. Have we reached a point where we can say that we will have very little in the way of stock market "crash"? I offer some takes in this episode and try to dive in a bit on this concept.
It seems any conversation about stocks these days involves something about Amazon or Apple or Facebook. I remember back in the day when it was Walmart and Microsoft that were the toast of business. Like Microsoft and Apple, they were deemed to be indestructible and now even though they are still significant businesses, they don't carry the same level of cache. What happened to Microsoft and Walmart was nothing different for most companies. Companies, especially dominant one's lose their some of the mojo or comparative advantage. In this episode I share some of the reasons that cause companies to regress. They are worthy of keeping them in your back pocket if you are evaluating any of the big companies.
In this final instalment of my Investment Decision series podcasts, I shares my thought process that went into buying shares of Priceline (now called Booking Holdings) during the February mini-meltdown. When the market was going haywire in early February, I was watching to see if any stocks that I had on my wish list, were suddenly attractively priced. Priceline was a stock I've had on my wishlist for long while but I had never been willing to pull the trigger and get into it. During the mini-meltdown, the stock had made a big move downward, so I reviewed my notes to see if the fundamentals of the business were still intact. As always, for every stock that I am evaluating I utilize my 8 question framework. You can also read the accompanying blog post here as well.
Previous instalments of the series
In this third instalment of my Investment Decision series podcasts, I shares my thought process that went into buying shares of Baidu during the February mini-meltdown. When the market was going haywire in early February, I was watching to see if any stocks that I had on my wish list, were suddenly attractively priced. Baidu had made a big move downward, so I reviewed my notes to see if the fundamentals of the business were still intact. As always, for every stock that I am evaluating I utilize my 8 question framework. You can also read the accompanying blog post here as well.
UPDATE: In June 2018 I sold my shares in Baidu for a 23.1% gain (net of Foreign Exchange). The stock was prodding along in the low $220's and got as low as $214 but then it popped and I eventually sold at $271. I thought the stock moved pretty fast and crossed my 20 percent return threshold that I thought maybe it's good to bank the profit now and buy back in if it were to pull back lower, which given the volatile nature of the stock is more than capable of. I still like the company and many of the points I spoke to in this mind map video are still in play.
Previous instalments of the series
In part 1, I shared my investment decisions to buy more shares in stocks I already owned as well as my decision to sell a portion of my short position on the S&P 500 index. During February I also took advantage of the pullback in share prices to add a few new stocks to my portfolio as I felt they had now become attractively priced. I will share my evaluations for each stock, all of which involve answering the 8 questions, I ask each time I am analyzing a stock. My first new stock that I added was Walmart. You can also read the blog post here.
As we finished January it looked like the stock market could do no wrong. Investors were all-in on stocks. Investor sentiment was downright giddy. Cash positions were at generational lows. Everything was awesome.
Then February arrived.
The first few weeks were dramatic. There were days when the Dow Jones Industrials were down 1500 points. 500-800 intraday swings were almost becoming normal after literally a year where there was nary a price change greater or less than 2 percent. There are so many reasons being cited. At the end it was a stressful month for investors.
For me it was shopping time. I was looking to buy back into some broad market ETF’s but the price falls were not deep enough to justify. So I’m happy to wait. As bad as watching the markets go down 1000 points, the reality is it only represented a 2-4 percent drop. Put this into context, on Black Monday in 1987, the Dow Jones Industrials went down over 20 percent. THAT is a crash. What happened in February was a flesh wound…if that. Context. I had my list of stocks and it was just a matter of jumping on the one’s that were taking a big time beating. A few did pop up and I jumped in.
I made quite a few moves and so I decided to break them down into a series of podcasts. In Part 1, I’ll share the decisions involving buying more shares of stocks and ETF’s I already own as well as selling. In Parts 2, 3, and 4 I will share my thought processes that went into buying some new stocks.