My decision last week to venture into the Russian stock market triggered quite a lot of debate. You can check out that article here if you missed it.

It’s too early to say how things will turn out with last week’s stock, RusHydro. But what I can tell you about is the impact some of my previous decisions have had on returns from the Stock in Focus Portfolio.

I’ve been through my records and put together a list of stocks which have qualified for the SIF screen since last April, but which I’ve chosen not to buy or sold prematurely.

In other words, this is a list of companies where I’ve ignored my rules for stock selection and made a subjective choice. I’ve included my estimate of the share price gain or loss I have missed by not sticking strictly to my rules. The date is linked to the original article on each stock:

CompanyDate consideredWhat have I missed?
XLMedia*25 May 2016+31%
International Consolidated Airline Group22 June 2016-12%
Fulcrum Utility Services17 August 2016+67%
Plus500**7 December 2016+10%


Average per stock = +24%

*I rejected XLMedia the first time, but have subsequently added it. 31% represents the difference between the profit I would have made, and the current running profit on my position.

**Plus500 was in the portfolio. I sold it ahead of schedule in December, when CFD shares crashed after the UK regulatory announced plans to limit leverage for retail customers. The shares have risen by 10% from my sale price.

These figures aren’t exact, but I think it’s pretty clear that the portfolio would be worth more if I’d obeyed my own rules blindly, rather than allowing an element of discretion.

This humbling set of figures is one of the reasons for my change of stance last week. Although the portfolio hasn’t been running long enough to be certain, the evidence so far seems to be in favour of a hands-off approach to stock selection.

So far, my manual interventions have cost the portfolio money!

The joker in the pack

There are a couple of stocks I haven’t mentioned so far. One of them is RusHydro, which I added to the…

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