SIF May review: Fulcrum Utility Services, Carr’s, Oxford Metrics & Redrow

Tuesday, May 29 2018 by
SIF May review Fulcrum Utility Services Carrrsquos Oxford Metrics amp Redrow

It’s the end of another month, so it’s time for the SIF portfolio’s monthly review. For newer readers it might be worth revisiting the rules-based process I used to manage this portfolio.

I run the Stock in Focus screen, which selects stocks that meet my criteria for affordable growth. Most weeks, I review a stock from this screen to decide whether to add it to the SIF portfolio. SIF is a Stockopedia Fantasy Fund, but I also run a very similar portfolio with some of my own money.

Since launching SIF two years ago, it has risen by 45%, compared to a gain of 24% for the FTSE All Share index.


I hold stocks in the portfolio for a minimum of nine months. After that, stocks stay in the portfolio for as long as they continue to qualify for my screen. Then they’re sold.

As it’s now the end of May, I’m need to review the stocks I added to the portfolio in August 2017, plus any stocks held over from previous months.

This month’s stocks

Three stocks were added to the portfolio in August last year, and one company remains from March 2017.

Here’s how these four stocks have performed during their time in the portfolio so far (excluding dividends):



Original coverage 09/08/2017

Although it’s primarily an agricultural feed business, Carr’s also has an engineering division which makes remote handling equipment for the energy industry. Much of this is for the nuclear market, but Carr’s also makes…

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Carr's Group plc is engaged in the agriculture and engineering activities. The Company's segments are Agriculture and Engineering. The Agriculture segment includes the sale of animal feed and feed blocks together with retail sales of farm equipment, fuels and farm consumables. The Engineering segment includes the design and manufacture of bespoke equipment for use in nuclear, oil and gas, and petrochemical industries. Its products include manipulators, robotics, specialist fabrication and precision machining. The Company's agriculture division develops and supplies a range of branded animal nutrition products into the livestock industries, as well as services the United Kingdom farming and rural communities through a network of retail stores and fuel businesses with manufacturing locations in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe. It is focused on the design and manufacture of pressure vessels and steel fabrications. more »

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Fulcrum Utility Services Limited is an independent energy and multi-utility infrastructure and services provider. The Company's principal activity includes the provision of unregulated utility connections and independent gas transportation services in the United Kingdom. Its segments include infrastructure services and pipelines. The infrastructure services segment is engaged in providing utility infrastructure and connections services. The pipelines segment comprises both the ownership of gas infrastructure assets and the conveyance of gas through its gas transportation networks. It provides technical engineering, design, project management, consultancy and audit services across gas and multi-utility connections. The Company designs and project manages utility connections for customers seeking either new connections or the alteration or refurbishment of existing connections. These connections range from single-site alterations to multi-utility and multi-site new connections. more »

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Oxford Metrics plc, formerly OMG plc, is the United Kingdom-based international software company. The Company develops and markets analytics software for motion measurement and infrastructure asset management to clients in over 70 countries worldwide. The Company helps highways authorities manage and maintain their road networks, hospitals and clinicians decide therapeutic strategies and Hollywood studios create visual effects. The Company operates through Vicon subsidiary. Vicon is engaged in motion measurement analysis. The Company provides software for the government, life sciences, entertainment and engineering sectors. more »

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

5 Comments on this Article show/hide all

Nick Ray 30th May '18 1 of 5

Do you use any rebalancing in this portfolio? How do you decide how big a stake to take in new stocks?

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Roland Head 30th May '18 2 of 5

Hi Nick,

Thanks for your comment. All positions are equally sized. Older positions were opened with £50,000 of virtual cash. Since the portfolio's annual review in April, I have increased the standard position size to £55,000 to reflect the portfolio's increased value.

I don't rebalance except in the unlikely scenario where a holding doubles in value during its time in the portfolio.



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Nick Ray 30th May '18 3 of 5

In reply to post #368159

Thanks Roland. Good timing with Oxford Metrics (LON:OMG) it seems.

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Julianh 31st May '18 4 of 5

Good morning Roland
Congratulations on your two year performance. The chart looks very nice. I have two small questions:
1. In year one your performance was only slightly ahead of the FTSE All share whereas in the last year you have pulled ahead quite strongly. Do you have any explanation for this? Has there been a change in method? Or maybe different investing environment?
2. Do you include dividends in your portfolio performance? And if so do you use the FTSE total return index as your index (so that both portfolio and benchmark include dividends)

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Roland Head 1st Jun '18 5 of 5

In reply to post #368574

Morning Julian,

Thank you for your comments. In answer to your questions:

1. My methodology didn't change significantly in year two. The only change I made was to increase my minimum holding period from six months to nine months.

What was different in the second year was that the portfolio was more fully invested. When I started in April 2016, the portfolio was 100% cash. As I only added one stock each week (generally) it took some time for the portfolio to gain meaningful exposure to the stock market. So I think this dampened early returns. I think it's fair to say that market conditions have been very favourable in both years.

2. Stockopedia's fantasy fund system doesn't allow for dividends, so these aren't included in the returns shown on the SIF fund page:

However, I do include dividends (and costs) in my "Total return" figure for each stock in these monthly reviews. Personally I'm a big fan of dividends as I believe they're a useful indicator of business quality and management discipline. A yield of at least 1.5% is one of the requirements in my screen (



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About Roland Head

Roland Head

I'm a private investor and writer on stock markets, with a particular fondness for free cash flow, dividends and value. I also have an interest in commodity stocks.  I hold the CFA UK Investment Management Certificate (IMC). One of my investment interests is developing rules-based strategies such as my Stock in Focus portfolio. This reflects a significant part of my personal portfolio and is the subject of my weekly column here at Stockopedia. In earlier life, I worked as an engineer in telecoms and IT. The rules-based approach required for this kind of work undoubtedly influenced my investing style. I also learned a lot from seeing the tech bubble deflate in 2000-1, when I was working for a large and now defunct Canadian firm.  more »


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