In the last of my 5 part series where I dive into answering a fundamental question that factors into every investment decision we make, I look at the nebulous concept of valuation from a perspective that goes beyond simply buying stocks with some low valuation multiple or ratio. I also try to bring the various concepts discussed together to provide some kind of framework that we can takeaway and carry with us as we go forward and make investment decisions.
I continue on my deep dive into figuring out what drives stock prices by looking at the one metric the rules them all and factors into every investment decisions we make. There are numerous mechanical and technical methodologies and strategies that are available to us when evaluating investment opportunities. At the end of the day all that due diligence may go for naught when we bring in this important metric that drives stock prices.
For most people investing revolves around the application of rules. Buy stocks with P/E ratios below X and have Debt/Equity ratios below 0.5. Index investing is better than active strategies, which is better than value investing. The reality mechanical strategies work until they don’t. In the third of our five part series, I dig deep further to look beyond mechanical investing strategies and examine the importance of how tendencies, principles, and to a certain extent fate, play critical roles in the setting of stock prices and how we frame our investment decisions. I also look at how we react to what market does, can also be a critical factor to setting stock prices and what investing competencies we need to develop to manage these tendencies to make more successful investment decisions.
In this first of a five part series, I take a deep dive into trying to answer a fundamental question that works directly and indirectly into every investment decisions. What makes stock prices go up and down? What makes a stock valuable? In this episode, I start at a high level by exploring a core foundational element that we often overlook but plays a critical role in driving stock prices.
After coming off the previous month where I made no decisions to buy or sell stocks and ETF’s in my portfolio, February couldn’t be more opposite. The trigger that got me to move was the louder chatter that the Federal Reserve was going to put the breaks on any future interest rate increases. To me this sudden 180 degree shift by the Federal Reserve was a game changer for the markets. In this episode, I walk through the investment decisions I made in February.
Investment Decisions Taken:
NEW POSITION: BOUGHT SHARES IN ISHARES GOLD BULLION ETF (TICKER: CGL.C)
NEW POSITION: BOUGHT SHARES IN VANGUARD EMERGING MARKETS ETF (TICKER: VEE)
NEW POSITION: BOUGHT SHARES IN SOUTHERN COPPER COMPANY (TICKER: SCCO)
NEW POSITION: BOUGHT SHARES IN CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES (TICKER: CNQ)
NEW POSITION: BOUGHT SHARES IN ISHARES PHARMACEUTICAL ETF (TICKER: XPH)
With commodity prices including copper falling, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at some copper stocks. Southern Copper was one I've owned in the past so I thought I'd check in and see if there may be an opportunity to buy in.
With commodity prices falling off and the Federal Reserve signalling they will pause on future interest rate hikes, the dynamics of a falling US$ and rising commodity prices including oil could be in play. I decided to do a quick analysis of CNQ which is considered among the big players in the Canadian Energy scene to see if there may be an opportunity to jump in.
Yes it been a full 4 years since I opened up my Robo Advisor account. For those new to investing, a Robo Advisor is a new wave of wealth management companies that invest on behalf of others using an online platform and a combination of algorithms and computer coding to buy and sell specific investments and manage portfolios. Four years ago these firms were just stepping into the investing conciousness, but since then they have mushroomed and even traditional investment companies are now offering some flavor of online investment management services. It all seemed quite appealing however there was one thing that many marketing materials, blogs, and mainstream media was avoiding (and still are I might add)…do these types of services make money for investors?
Since no robo advisor company back then was interested in disclosing their performance (they still avoid it) other than citing research that their strategy is superior, I decided four years ago to try an experiment and find out for myself. I setup an account with one of the big Robo Adviser firms. My goal was to go through the process and blog about my experience and more importantly, the results. I’ve always 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 at the 80% mark of my ROBO journey, so let’s check back in and take a look at how it’s doing now and see if we can squeeze any conclusions about the service.
I always get questions from people about investing. In this episode I share a few questions and offer my takes:
Is stock picking more art than science?
How do you come up with different investment ideas?
What is the first metric you look at when you research a stock?
What are the tricks in investing in the stock market?
Happy New Year indeed! It seems like many investors are more than happy to turn the page on a new year and fast!
So much for the Santa Clause rally. The markets continued to roll over as 2018 wound down. While it will definitely crimp some of my returns for the year. I actually viewed it as an opportunity to do some Christmas shopping. This is the type of shopping I like where the money I spend on high quality assets that will have a good chance of growing into more assets in the future. The core tenant of investing is to buy low and sell high. The times where you can buy low are unfortunately when the market is cratering. The later part of the yea is a usually quiet period for making decisions but this year some companies that I really never would considered in the past because they’ve been just too expensive looked very appetizing to pick up on the cheap. So I made a fair number of investment decisions in November and December. I bought small positions, because given the negative sentiment in the market, I wouldn’t be surprised to see prices fall further, which is fine because I’m happy to slowly build up these positions at a lower price point.
So in this first of two posts, I share with you my investment decisions from November 2018. In part 2 I will review my decisions in December 2018.
Sold shares in Starbucks (Ticker: SBUX) for gain of 29.6%, net FX)
Bought more shares in Activision Blizzard (Ticker: ATVI)
Sold shares in Activision Blizzard (Ticker: ATVI) for 25% Loss – Net FOREX
Bought more shares in Electronic Arts (Ticker: EA)
Sold shares in Walmart (Ticker: WMT) For 20% gain (net FOREX)
Bought more shares in iShares Germany ETF (Ticker: EWG)
One of the most under performing asset classes so far this year has been German equities. As of this writing, German stocks were down over 20 percent year-to-date. Everyone complains about the weakness in the Dow Jones indexes, but the German markets have been in a serious downfall. This despite some of the most well-known and dominant global companies like Daimler Benz and Seimens. The German economy is the enginge of Europe and the opportunity to get exposure to that market at a 20 percent discount was appealing to me. I decided the best way to get the exposure was to passively own a basket of German stocks and that led me to evaluate some German equity ETF’s. In this podcast episode, I walk through my analysis of several German equity ETF’s.
Oil prices have been nose diving in the past few months and along with it oil stocks. I thought it would be a good opportunity to do some due diligence on some oil stocks to see if there were some opportunities to buy low. Instead, I decided to have a look at some ETF’s to see what if that may be a better road. In this episode I share my analysis and review of several energy ETF’s.
There was a fair bit of hand wringing going into October, a month where there have been historically some iconic stock market meltdowns. The market was starting to show some signs of fatigue. At one point the S&P 500 index crossed below its 200 day moving average which hasn’t happened in literally years. Interest rates keep tracking up. The Mad King continued to elevate the trade trash talking and investors were getting nervous and stock prices in the early part were trending downward, but nothing crazy that motivated me to look into buying. Sue enough on October 23, the market had a fit. Suddenly words like “crisis” and “turmoil” were being thrown around, when historically they weren’t even scratches. It’s times like this where having my investing playbook is critical as it gives me an anchor to check in and review my investing ideology and how should be executing. It makes me review my Wish List to see if there are any stocks I’ve liked are now more affordable. The last thing I should be doing is panicking and reacting. It’s these stress points where we need to be put all the upfront hard work and making thought-out decisions.
In this episode I walk through the various decisions I made during the month. With quite a few stocks that I owned had fallen in value enough that I thought it was worth jumping in and buying some more shares to lower my average cost down. There were also a couple of stocks/ETF’s that I had on wish list that had become a lot cheaper and thought it would be good to start building a position.
Bought more shares in Las Vegas Sands (Ticker: LVS)
Bought more shares in Activision Blizzard (Ticker: ATVI)
Bought more shares in iShares US Financials (Ticker: XLF)
Bought more shares in Nutrien (Ticket: NTR)
Bought more shares in Winpak (Ticker: WPK)
New Position: Bought shares in iShares Germany ETF (Ticker: EWG)
New Position: Bought shares in Electronic Arts (Ticker: EA)
Amazon has been one of the “It” stocks for the last decade. It has had an epic run. If we were to look at Amazon from a 1st level thinking perspective, the conventional thinking behind buying Amazon is that they are disrupting retail. Any space Amazon enters, be it grocery, streaming, pharmaceutical drugs, diapers is met with fear and doom by the existing players. 1st level thinking would tell us that in the future we will shop at Amazon only. I would consider Amazon to be a Fear of Missing Out or FOMO stock. Many have missed the moves up and feel compelled to jump aboard so they won’t miss out. In this episode I try to take a look at Amazon from a 2nd level thinking perspective.
With summer done, I was thinking I may be due to make a few investment decisions, but it was quiet month with one selling decision which I wasn’t counting on making anytime soon along with one decision to buy more shares and one new stock I added to my portfolios. At the same time, I was faced with a decision that challenged some of my personal values and given the times we’re in, I don’t think I’m the only one that may be facing similar decisions. In this episode I walk through my most recent investment decisions from September.
Investment Decisions Made:
When I was a kid I spent a heck of a lot of time playing video games. I’m totally dating myself here but I had at one point an Intelivision which as the time had the coolest sports games and also a Sega Genesis where I got my first look at Madden Football. Over time I ended up getting Playstation and a Wii but I hardly used them like I did back in the day. Beyond this, I really didn’t know much about video games, but wow have things changed. I had no idea how much of a following games have. The big reason is the ability to play the games online has allowed all sorts of competition. You can literally play anyone anywhere on the planet. To my surprise there are all kinds of tournaments and leagues that have sprouted up and the big one’s offer serious prize money. The other part that floored me was how many people actually will watch other people play video games. The Overwatch League finals were played at the Barclays Center in New York and the arena was sold out! The more I read about it, the more I looked into it. I evaluated a few of the big name game companies which you can find in my Mind Map video pages. I ended making a move and picking up some shares in Activision Blizzard. Here is my mind map analysis (podcast) that lead me to my decision.
UPDATE November 2018: As November wore on the stock kept tracking down and soon my loss position was at 25% which meant the stock would have to go up over 30 percent just to break-even. Given the negative sentiment I didn’t see that happening. I had the stock on a tight leash and so with the latest pullback I said that’s enough. As hard as it is to sell, I have to stay true to my investing playbook and when any stock crosses my loss threshold I have to sell regardless of how I feel about it. It feels painful right now but it is short term pain for long-term preservation of my savings. I still like the company and the whole video game/e-sports space, so I’m still going to keep Activision on my watch list and if the stock continues to track lower then I might jump back in if the fundamentals of the business remain intact.
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.
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.