Good morning!

In my rush to get into the City yesterday afternoon, I omitted to comment on Circassia Pharmaceuticals (LON:CIR) - some sort of drug development company. Roughly £500m was wiped off its market cap yesterday (two thirds).

I have no idea why people feel the compulsion to gamble on this kind of thing. It's not investing, it's pure gambling. All too often this type of share is set up by very shrewd promoters, who make a lot of money en route, then eventually the story collapses. Risk:reward is terrible - they nearly always fail! So why on earth would we want to back it? I just don't touch anything like this. Story stocks are hopeless - they nearly always go wrong - I'm speaking from experience here, having backed hundreds of them over the last 20 years. What we need is profits & divis, at a low valuation, and bombed-out investor sentiment. Or just growth in a vanilla sector, at a reasonable price.

People like stories, because it removes the need to do proper analysis of the figures. They nearly always fail. It's hard enough to make money on proper companies, so why delve into the undergrowth into heavily promoted story stocks? I'll never forget the lessons I learned from the TMT boom & bust in 1998-2000. Utter madness. You see the same thing happening over & over again now too. There are loads of over-priced story stocks out there. Buyer beware. 

If someone butters you up, and tells you a great story, for a nil turnover company on a stratospheric valuation, then you're probably being conned. The sensible thing is to smile, be generally affable, but quietly walk away, funds intact.

Best Of The Best (LON:BOTB) update

(at the time of writing, I hold a long position in this share)

I enjoyed meeting William and Rupert from BOTB yesterday. I'm not keen on the company name though. "BOTB" means nothing to me. Why not rebrand it ? (or similar).

A small group of us had about 90 minutes of quality time with management. Overall, no surprises. It's exactly as I thought - a lovely, unique business, making solid progress - with 70%+ of business now online. Capital-free, and a cash machine (note the 2 big special divis). Also, management are like limpets on…

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