Well here we are a month into 2019 already. I can't say that I look back on 2018 with fond memories (at least not from an investing perspective) but I've got a new page in my spreadsheet and optimism has returned to the markets. This happy sentiment may not last but with many of my holdings putting out in-line statements, at worst, and reporting good trading I think that it's only reasonable for their share prices to show a little life!


Robert Walters Bought 565p - January 19

On receipt of the Q4 trading update, as covered below, I decided pretty quickly that this was a holding worth topping up. There's no doubt that the business is really flying in its two largest territories and I like the way in which management are quick to rebalance costs as markets change. This is probably why sales per employee have been steadily increasing since the 2008 crisis. In addition the CEO has recently been buying in the market, adding to his £12m shareholding, and so I feel that I'm in good company!

NB I've put together a lengthy analysis on Robert Walters here which dives deep into its financial performance both individually and against sector peers.

Learning Technologies Bought 100p - January 19

I've been watching this company for a while as I'm a bit of an Andrew Brode fan and I know quite a few people who rate the company highly. That said it's always looked a bit expensive with a rather patchy track record; in other words there's a lot of hope in the price. Still I now have a starter position and two factors have led to this. Firstly the price has fallen markedly from its brief high back in September, which leads to the forward P/E being a half-reasonable 25 or so. Secondly they put out a "significantly ahead of expectations" update this week with adjusted EBIT of not less than £26.5m and net debt sharply reduced to £11.5m. This is excellent news and I fully expected the share price to jump 10-20%. Instead, to spite me, it fell 20% after I'd bought in first thing! I guess some people took fright at a fall in Content & Services revenue even though this is a lumpy business? Never mind - I'll wait for the results to see whether the 2019 forecast of 26% growth is…

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