My 2012 Stock Picks: Post Mortem

Monday, Dec 24 2012 by

Over on John Kingham’s site, I made a selection of shares for 2012. Let’s see what happened:

  • ASX – All-Share Index: +12.5%
  • MCX – FTSE 250: +26.1%
  • UKX – Footsie: +10.3%

Making comparisons is going to be awkward, because what there was a very big divergence between the indices. The MCX flew away, but the ASX lagged, weighed down by the relative sluggishness of the Footsie. So, should my base comparison be the ASX – because after all I’m trying to beat the “universe” of stocks – or do I bewail my performance for lagging the MCX, from which many of my ideas were drawn?

Afferro Mining Inc (LON:AFF): +23.1% I said that there was huge upside on this one, as you received the market cap in cash, and got the resources for free. Good call on my part, although it was far from a smooth ride for investors.

BLSA – Blacks Leisure (short position): -100.0% I said there was a high probability of going bankrupt, and this was indeed the case. It went bankrupt in mid-January, so you wouldn’t have had long to wait. To be honest, this one was like shooting fish in a barrel, because the directors had already warned that there’d be trouble. Some BLSA stores was taken over by JD Sports for peanuts. JD. reports that the stores are performing well, so it looks like the management have, once again, repeated their basic template of buying out inefficient bankrupt niche retailers and breathing new life into them. JD shareholders (which includes me) are going to be happy with this purchase. If you’re looking for a similar short for 2013: HIBU. HMV looks pretty bad, too, but not quite the “sure thing” of HIBU.

Domino Printing Sciences (LON:DNO): +18.2%. I reckoned it was a good quality company at a reasonable price, but for which I wasn’t expecting

Dechra Pharmaceuticals (LON:DPH): +23.1% A nice little GARP stock that pretty much did exactly what I expected it to. Would make a decent selection for this year.

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WM Morrison Supermarkets P L C (LON:MRW): -16.5% Well, go figure. It was reasonably priced at the beginning of the year, and became cheaper. The fall of the supermarkets was something I think that very very few people would have predicted at the beginning of 2012. It’s amazing that my safest investment also turned out to be amongst the worst.

Optos (LON:OPTS): -17.1% A GARP stock that just didn’t fire up. Revenues were up, but EPS was down. That position will swap around next year. The growth story seems unbroken, and it now trades on a forward PE of 8.7, which is undemanding.

Here are some means:

  • Cum-short: +21.8% (i.e. takes the BLSA short as +100%) 
  •  Ex-short: +6.2% (i.e. excluding BLSA)

Seeings as people don’t usually take short positions (I know I don’t), the best indicator of my performance is +6.2%. This has lagged the ASX by about 6%, so I am disappointed by my selections. One of the ironies is that AFF, which I thought of as my riskiest punt, turned out to be the best performer, whilst the least risky punt, MRW, turned out to have one of the worst. It even managed to underperform Tesco, where al the fuss and fury over supermarkets was concentrated.

Distinct lack of genius shown by me this year. Let’s hope my picks for 2013 turn out better.

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Afferro Mining Inc. is a mineral exploration and development stage company. The Company is focused on iron ore projects in Cameroon. The Company has four mineral exploration projects in Cameroon, including the Nkout Iron Ore Project (Nkout Project). The other iron ore projects in the Company’s portfolio are Ntem and Akonolinga, both are 100% owned by the Company, and Ngoa, which is 70% owned by the Company. The Ntem project covers an area of 245 square kilometer. The Akonolinga project covers an area of 241 square kilometer. The Ngoa project covers an area of 252 square kilometer. more »

Share Price (LSE)
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Domino Printing Sciences plc is a United kingdom-based company which design, manufacture and sell a range of printing equipment and associated consumables and support services that encompass ink jet, thermal and laser technologies. The Company is engaged in the development of intelligent Technology system known as i-Tech. It includes sectors, such as food and beverages, pharmaceutical and healthcare, printing, industrial, electronic components, construction and chemicals and others. The Company operates business in three regions : America which include United States of America, Canada and Mexico; Europe includes United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Portugal and Belgium and Rest of World includes China, Korea, Singapore and India. more »

Share Price (Full)
-2.0  -0.2%
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Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc is a food retailer. The Company has approximately 500 stores, 130 M locals and an online home delivery service. It has a vertically integrated supply chain. The Company is mainly a provider of food and grocery and it sources and processes the fresh food that it sells though its own manufacturing facilities. It owns, operates and controls a greater proportion of its fresh food supply chain which enables customers to tailor their meat and fish to suit preferences and buy freshly baked goods. The Company is also operating in Birmingham, Manchester, North London, Sheffield and, Lincolnshire, apart from Warwickshire and Yorkshire.  The Company operates seven regional distribution centres servicing its core supermarkets, and two convenience distribution centres. more »

Share Price (Full)
2.1  1.1%
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  Is Afferro Mining Inc fundamentally strong or weak? Find out More »

1 Comment on this Article show/hide all

Mark Carter 24th Dec '12 1 of 1

Just to clarify my thoughts on HIBU: it has little in the way of realisable assets. It has crushing debt, but postiive operational cashflow. I see the most likely scenario as being that HIBU will continue trading, at least in the short term, but with current equity holders actually, or effectively, wiped out in a debt-for-equity swap.

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About Mark Carter

Mark Carter


I am a private investor living in Scotland. I am a computer programmer by trade.

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