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How I pick shares- Part 1 (Knowledge)

On the other hand, investing is a unique kind of casino — one where you cannot lose in the end, so long as you play only by the rules that put the odds squarely in your favour.” Benjamin GrahamThe Intelligent Investor
Each investor has their own approach and methodology as to how they pick shares. I thought it was time that I shared mine. I intend to write this over several weeks*.
I started my investment journey in the hills of the double-dip that took place back in 2011. We'd had the most horrible crash in the Stock Market in 2008-2009. I was very lucky as I went from a place professionally where I could have lost my job (the US business I worked for was planning to close down my office) to being part of a management buy-out that saw a premature promotion to a senior position and relative job security. However the rosy glow of the initial optimism of 2009-2010 was now in the rear view mirror. 2011was brutal as we nearly wobbled back into full recession and some stocks had taken …
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If Carlsberg did Stock Exchange Announcements...

"The creation of the joint venture is an important step forward for our UK business. The joint venture's brand portfolio will allow us to offer a significantly stronger beer portfolio to our UK customers. In addition, the combined business will bring our customers wider choice, greater capacity, product innovation and marketing and distribution efficiency benefits." Cees 't Hart (Chief Executive of Carlsberg Group)Friday 22nd May saw an incredible share price rise for Marstons plc (MARS)*. The British Pub Company had seen its share price hammered by the Corona Crisis, as it was forced to close all its pubs in mid March 2020. From 70p a share on March 11th, it was trading at 32p on May 21st. The jump to 66p on May 22nd was little short of remarkable. Only Carlsberg could script such rises for a major listing....This week also saw a great rise for Dart Group (DTG), the airline, package holiday and logistics company. From a price of £4.72 on May 15th, it now trades at £…

Value Investing in the Current Climate

All investing is value investing; the rest is speculation Joel Greenblatt
Value investing has been back in the headlines this week. I'd like to think that it was in direct response to the article that I* wrote last week, but I suspect not! It has become relevant because value shares have been battered in the recent Market sell-off.
People are bemused because there is a generally held belief that every few years "value investing" has its place in the Sun. The problem is that it's taking a heck of a long time to get back to get back into the spotlight.
I've always considered that the art of investing is the ability find shares that are under-valued, buy them and hold them until such time as the risk premium of continuing to hold them is too high. That risk premium is often because those shares have become over-valued- too many people have piled into them and the price has been bid up to a silly level. 
A great example of this was a company called Lo-Q (now called A…

If you could hold 5 stocks for 5 years....

Our favourite holding period is forever (Warren Buffett)
Like many of you I suspect, I tuned in* to to hear the latest pronouncements of the Sage of Omaha last weekend, as Warren Buffett gave his verdict on the situation in which we now find ourselves. Even at the age of 89, Buffett's analysis remains as sharp as ever. 
There were three themes that struck me:
Confidence in the American Economy long-term For regular readers of his letters to investors, this is a common theme. That is why for many investors he advocates considering investing in a simple Index Tracker of the S&P500 as opposed to betting on individual shares. He is a big fan of the ingenuity, creativity, diligence and resilience of the US economy . It is encouraging to see that this latest crises has not shaken his view.The importance of cutting losses He admitted mistakes in his recent purchase of airline stocks- and in his case it wasn't just three grand of Easyjet (EZJ) shares. When you take 10% stakes in the …

Running the Rule over Dunelm (DNLM)

"We are confident that we will emerge from this crisis as a stronger business ready to return to sustainable and profitable growth." Nick Wilkinson (CEO, Dunelm, 16th April 2020)
I have spent a lot of time writing about theory since I started writing my blog back in January 2020. My initial intention had been to take readers on a walk through approach and practicalities, spending a lot of time initially on psychology, then methodology. The rapid change in temperature of the Market at the back end of February 2020 caused me to change direction in my writing. I've written a lot recently about how we can respond as investors in times like these. It was always my intention to move on to application sooner rather than later. I'm now going to start applying some of the theory to real life situations.

As my first company in focus, I thought I'd look at Dunelm (DNLM). I hold no position in it and I don't tip (or am qualified to do so)*. I write simply to educate. Howev…

Beware of the Bear- Five Thoughts

There is only one side of the market and it is not the bull side or the bear side, but the right side. Jesse Livermore
I began my real investment journey* in 2011 amidst the embers of the 2008 Crash, so this is the first Bear Market that I have lived through as an investor in individual stocks, albeit there have been plenty of "Corrections" since then. 
For the uninitiated, a "Correction" is where stocks drop 10% or more from their highs. A "Bear Market" is where stocks drop 20% or more from their highs
I allowed most of my trading portfolio to drop into cash at an early stage of the Drop (through use of trailing stops) and left my long term investment portfolio (which is balanced between equities, gilts, bonds and gold- almost entirely in indices and Investment Trusts & Funds) largely intact. The only major buy I made was an increase of my gold weighting about a month ago. I have spent a fair part of the current Bear Market watching from the sideline…

A bonfire of the dividends!

Dividends are a function of cash flow, and cash flows will undoubtedly come under intense pressure. (Richard Bernstein- March 2020)
Two weeks ago I wrote* about Buying in Market Meltdowns. One of the features of that piece was looking at the eye-watering dividends that were available in the FTSE100. By way of recap they were (with estimated dividend cover for 2020 in brackets):
1.Imperial Brands (IMB) (Tobacco)- 15.78% (1.22) 2.Shell (RDSB) (Oil)- 13.49% (1.26) 3.BP (BP.) (Oil) - 12.10% (1.22) 4.BT (BT.) (Telecoms)- 10.22% (1.55) 5.WPP (Advertising)- 10.78% (1.45) 6.HSBC (HSBA) (Banking)- 9.14% (1.28) (Source- Stockopedia- 13 March 2020).
Out of interest they now are as follows:
1.Imperial Brands (IMB) (Tobacco)- 15.70% (1.25) 2.Shell (RDSB) (Oil)- 12.1% (0.78) 3.BP (BP.) (Oil) - 10.6% (0.68) 4.BT (BT.) (Telecoms)- 12.7% (1.55) 5.WPP (Advertising)- 11.6% (1.40) 6.HSBC (HSBA) (Banking)- 8.67% (1.25) (Source- Stockopedia- 28 March 2020).
Of course there is an inherent problem in relying on these fig…