Good morning!

The news is terribly boring today, so I think I might just do a quick round-up of my personal portfolio, to show what went right and what went wrong in 2018.

Of course, nothing below should be construed as "tips" or "advice" - I make plenty of mistakes.

For context: 

  • the FTSE All-Share Total Return Index is down 9.5%
  • the FTSE AIM All-Share Total Return Index is down 18%.

(Total return is measured from 29th December 2017 to last night's close, and includes the beneficial effect of dividends.)

Volvere (LON:VLE)

  • Total return: 22%
  • Share price: 1050p
  • Market cap: £33 million
  • StockRank: 97

Still my largest holding (16% of the portfolio) and I remain happy to leave it in the portfolio. CEO Jonathan Lander was good enough to come to Mello London this year and explain how this investment vehicle works to a large gathering of private investors.

The cash balance is worth perhaps £33 million after £6 million of buybacks, i.e. it's capitalised at around cash value with two businesses thrown in for free. One of these, a bakery, is of a substantial size and could move the needle again for Volvere if its performance improves and/or it is disposed.

Please note that the stock is illiquid and only suited for long-term holders. The major uncertainty around it now is how the massive cash pile will be used - it's a bet on management's ability to continue their fine track record.

Burberry (LON:BRBY)

  • Total return: -1%
  • Share price: 1720p
  • Market cap: £7.1 billion
  • StockRank: 85

I've had a long-term love affair with this company, first buying into it back in 2012. I traded in and out of it a few times, but my current holding has been in the portfolio since January 2016.

I think it's a highly attractive and perhaps a timeless brand. It is 11% of my portfolio.

The important thing to remember is that British perceptions matter less than Asian perceptions of it. The big spenders, even in the British stores, are Asian tourists.

Top-line revenue growth has admittedly slowed down (adjusted revenue +4% in the latest H1 report), so the focus has shifted to cost savings under new CEO Marco Gobetti and a new creative vision under Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci.

Both of these key employees are…

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