The results of my SIF stock screen have almost completely dried up as we head into July. This mirrors my own view that after such a strong market rally, it might be time to take some money off the table before reality strikes later this year.

Fortunately as always, I’m not paid to make macro judgements, only to follow the rules. As it’s the end of the month, this means reviewing those stocks in my Stock in Focus (SIF) virtual portfolio which have been held for at least nine months. Only stocks which continue to pass my SIF screening tests can be kept. 

There are six stocks to review this month. This is an unusually high number, as a result of two holdovers from April and May and last September’s buying spree. The companies up for the chop this week are:

  • Capital (LON:CAPD)

  • H&T Group (LON:HAT)

  • The Renewables Infrastructure Group (LON:TRIG)

  • Pershing Square Holdings (LON:PSH)

  • Gulf Keystone Petroleum (LON:GKP)

  • Luceco (LON:LUCE)

I’ll give my verdict on each of these companies in a moment, but as we’re now halfway through the year, I also want to take a quick look at the performance of the SIF folio as a whole so far in 2020.

SIF Folio half-year review

How has my systematic portfolio fared during this year’s stock market crash and subsequent rebound? Not too badly, I think.

SIF went into the crash with a heavy cash weighting which reduced the impact of the market slump. I think it’s important to emphasise that this positioning was the result of my rules-based approach. It wasn’t down to any manual intervention by me.

Following the rules made me a net seller in the months before the crash. When valuations dropped, I had plenty of cash available for buying. At the same time, my screen cranked into life and provided a number of new stocks (e.g. BATS, SRE) for me to add to the portfolio. These have helped to offset losses from older holdings:

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Here’s how this year looks on a chart. SIF is the blue line, the FTSE All-Share is the grey line:

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SIF is down this year, but the portfolio has beaten its benchmark index by a healthy 5% (as of 29 June 2020):

  • SIF 2020 YTD: -14%

  • FTSE All-Share…

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