May 2019 Portfolio Update

Friday, May 31 2019 by

Unlike April I've had a rather busy month on all fronts in May - so much for sell and go away. To a large degree this activity was stimulated the investor events that I attended. The key one of these was Mello London in Chiswick where I spent a happy two days listening to company presentations and learning from keynote speakers. As usual there was more happening than you could possibly take in (which is a big plus) but I enjoyed catching up with a number of interesting companies and posing questions directly to management - these are often more revealing than the presentations. On top of this Mello had some excellent speakers in the main hall with these ones being the highlight for me: Stephen English - Swiss Army Knife Investing, Judith MacKenzie - Importance of Corporate Governance, Richard Bernstein - Activism and Mark Crossman - Understanding Market Makers. Most of these will have been filmed by piworld and I recommend viewing when they're available.All in all Mello is a top-class event that's only getting better as it matures. I heartily recommend it to any private investor who fancies meeting like-minded individuals that won't fall asleep when you mention a P/E ratio.

Also this month I finally managed to attend the Financial Statements Seminar put on by Graham Neary. While I know my way around a balance sheet I decided to sign up because it's always useful to have a refresher and there are definitely gaps in my knowledge from learning this stuff piecemeal. Let me just say upfront that this was a great decision! It's clear that Graham has put an awful lot of work into this course in order to take you from the absolute basics to some quite sophisticated concepts. For me the really useful part was seeing how different sections in the accounts are interdependent and can only change in a balanced manner. Usefully the course contains lots of examples that you have to work through and this is far more useful than watching slide after slide. Suffice to say I think that this is a great investment and it should definitely pay for itself in the long run (and I'm not even being paid by Graham to say these nice things!).

Now Robbie Burns is not someone that I follow closely but it's hard to avoid the Naked…

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Palace Capital plc is a property investment company. The Company invests in commercial real estate in the United Kingdom. The Company's property portfolio includes investment properties located throughout England, predominantly regional investments outside London and consists of a diverse portfolio of commercial buildings. The Company's properties include Hudson House, York; FRASER HOUSE, STAINES, and MIDSUMMER BOULEVARD, MILTON KEYNES. The Company invests in a range of sectors, such as leisure, auto, legal, hotels, retail, health, research and development, and car parking. The Company's subsidiaries include Palace Capital (Leeds) Limited, Palace Capital (Northampton) Limited, Palace Capital (Properties) Limited, Palace Capital (Developments) Limited, Palace Capital (Halifax) Limited and Property Investment Holdings Limited. more »

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3i Group PLC is a United Kingdom-based investment company. The Company has two complementary businesses: Private Equity and Infrastructure, specializing in core investment markets in northern Europe and North America. Its Private Equity business includes investment and asset management to generate capital returns, and is focused on consumer, industrial and business services sectors. Its Infrastructure business includes investment and asset management to generate capital returns and cash income and focuses on the United Kingdom and Europe. It also offers software solutions to unify fragmented data and provide actionable insight. Its subsidiaries include 3i Investments plc, 3i BIFM Investments Ltd, 3i Europe plc and 3i Nordic plc. 3i Investments PLC is the investment manager of the Company. more »

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Softcat Plc is an information technology (IT) reseller and IT infrastructure solutions provider to the corporate and public sector markets. The Company provides organizations with workplace, datacenter and networking, and security solutions combined with all the services required to design, implement, support and manage them, on premise or in the cloud. Its solutions include asset management, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, cloud and managed services, collaboration, commodity sourcing, datacenter, end-user computing and mobility, networking and security, print, professional services and software licensing. The Company provides corporate and public sector organizations with software licensing, workplace technology, datacenter infrastructure, networking and security. The Company, through its portfolio of IT services, addresses IT sourcing challenges, software licensing needs, IT solutions and adapts the cloud through managed services. more »

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  Is LON:PCA fundamentally strong or weak? Find out More »

25 Posts on this Thread show/hide all

skinner66 1st Jun This post is under review

its more get shot trump and go away,, he will be reason of next Recession times hard enough anyway
without his mad involvement guess election coming.. tariifs with china and mexico today,, plus sending warships to iran,, when will people realise he will cause next world wide recession,,, kennedy got killed for less

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Gostevie 1st Jun 2 of 25

Thank you as always Damian for a fascinating monthly update. There are some great ideas in there.

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Edward John Canham 1st Jun 3 of 25

Hi Damian

Many thanks - always find your updates a good read and thought provoking.

Shoe Zone (LON:SHOE)

Also had a lucky escape - was going to buy pre-interims but price shot up. Found the half-year accounts disappointing as was expecting a bit of a sales increase given their roll-out of Big Box stores. Surprised they have not fallen more as they seem to be on a premium rating for a flat sales retailer.

XP Power (LON:XPP)

Was on the cusp of buying this several times but never quite got there, mainly due to cash-flow. Have taken a starter position in Volex (LON:VLX) which seems better value to me. Then again, better value doesn't always work! So still keeping an eye on XP Power (LON:XPP) .


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andrea34l 1st Jun 4 of 25

It's interesting to read your monthly updates, even if my actions in at least some stocks are opposed... though perhaps I should convince myself that my actions are not necessarily inferior.

I sold Portmeirion (LON:PMP) at around 1019 after their abismal and, I would suggest unexpectedly negative, update. 

I have, I'm sure incorrectly, sold IG Design (LON:IGR) - this was one of my larger holdings and I was disappointed in the lack of recent momentum. The fairly recent director sale also spooked me. 

I also sold Softcat (LON:SCT) as, although I think they are a smashing company, their share price is too often swayed by the wider market rather than their excellent updates and so with current market conditions I am hoping to buy back in somewhere in the 800s

I've also sold my too-large holding in Newriver Reit (LON:NRR) as I was rather disconcerted by the large nav drop and don't have a thick enough skin to continue holding them - I think they are a value trap at this stage, I notice that for the first time in a while the quarterly dividend has not been increased and I wouldn't be surprised to see it eventually lowered. 

I can't get excited about a manufacturer of kettle components, especially with the low growth of the last results. I sold Bloomsbury Publishing (LON:BMY) some time ago as I think the rating is ludicrous and, if one reads between the lines, trading is VERY mixed. 

Like you I have also, finally, bought Craneware (LON:CRW) based on the chart. 

I don't have the nerve to hold Beeks Financial Cloud (LON:BKS) and would need solid evidence of progress. 

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paraic84 1st Jun 5 of 25

Agree Palace Capital (LON:PCA) is looking very cheap relative to NAV per share.

On Strix (LON:KETL) one of the key issues for me is when their patents expire - I've never been able to get to the bottom of this but feel it's fairly key to making an investment decision.

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