Looking for beta testers

Looking for beta testers

For the last couple of years I have been trying to set up a new way for investors to quickly and easily analyze stocks. I know of a lot of online platforms that provide information like summary financial statements already, but none have the level of customization that I think is necessary for an investor. I wanted to set up a completely customizable spreadsheet that an investor could personalise to analyze stocks however they want to, and that would populate with reliable data on any stock at the click of a button. Moreover I wanted to provide this analytical tool cheaper than you can get elsewhere on the web. I have now almost realized this vision, and I have what I believe is an invaluable analysis tool, the only thing left now is to see if other people agree, and to test it out for real. That is where I need the help of my readers.

I need volunteers to use this spreadsheet to analyze stocks and give me their feedback on it. There is nothing in particular I will require from you, simply use it as you see fit and give me any comments you have. This is what I have to offer to any would be testers…read more

A brief tale of 1937

A brief tale of 1937

The western world is finally ‘recovering’ from the greatest recession since the 1930s. Many parallels have been drawn with the 1929 crash over the last few years, including politicians citing ‘lessons learnt’ from how lawmakers reacted in the 1930s and why this time, it’s different. We are now 6 years since the bottom of the stock market crash in 2009, and an unprecedented amount of money has been added to the economy, with little overall impact on inflation. I usually don’t focus too much on the macro when it comes to investing, but I find a brief look back to 1937 tells an interesting tale and may give us a clue as to what the future holds.read more

Premier Case Study

Premier Case Study

There is a stock I looked at a few years ago that has always stuck in my mind, and that is London based Premier Foods ($PFD.L). To me it is the perfect simple example of how even a great business can be destroyed by leverage. Before the crisis it was a company that had so much going for it, a producer of many reputable food brands in the UK with a moat worthy of giants like Pepsi. But in 2006 the management and board made a catastrophic decision. They engaged in the leveraged buyout of two competitors, which resulted in Premier becoming the largest food supplier in the UK. This was supposed to be a transformational point in the history of the company, and it certainly was….for all the wrong reasons. Premier is a story of what happens when a company has everything going for it, but is sunk by too much leverage and bad management.read more

7 things to note from Berkshire’s 2014 letter

7 things to note from Berkshire’s 2014 letter

I’m sure by now most have heard that Buffett’s latest letter to shareholders has been released. If you haven’t read it, you have probably already read articles on it. So I wanted to post here some quotes from which I drew some subtle implications that others may not have picked up on when reading.read more

Portfolio update – $CLP.L sold

Portfolio update – $CLP.L sold

CLP posted a bullish trading update yesterday which saw the stock surge 80%. I took the opportunity to cut my losses on this investment, as I don’t have any faith in managements bullish assertions any more.read more

Free online valuation course

Free online valuation course

I came across this online valuation course run by Professor Aswath Damodaran at Stern School of Business at NYU and wanted to share it with readers. I have long been a follower of his blog which goes through numerous musings on business valuation as well as worked examples, so would recommend his course and the blog. This is a great way to get started if you want to dip your toes in the water without reading all the books I recommend in my learn to invest section.read more

Ubiquiti ($UBNT) Investment Thesis

Ubiquiti ($UBNT) Investment Thesis

Ubiquiti ($UBNT) is a fast growing network hardware producer. Normally when it comes to hardware and technology, margins and returns on investment are low, but Ubiquiti has managed to dominate its market with a unique approach to the business, one that is not easily replicated. It earns margins over 25% by having no marketing and advertising costs, relying entirely on its products to distinguish themselves from competitors.

The company is growing revenues at 40% per annum, is highly cash generative, yet is selling at a P/E of just 13, excluding cash (yes it has net cash, not debt!). Here is my investment thesis.read more

What does Short Interest tell you?

What does Short Interest tell you?

As “investors”, we like to think we have some inherent advantage over most people in the market, which is made up of traders and short term thinkers. We think of ourselves as the rational ones who keep a level head and objective approach even in the midst of fear and crisis. Books like the Intelligent Investor by Ben Graham, and gurus such as Warren Buffett make out like the market as a whole is irrational, disregards company fundamentals and can be taken advantage of. But there is an important point which is easy to miss among this self congratulatory rhetoric, and that is that Mr Market, far from being incompetent, is usually right. It is only on occasion that he is irrational and will offer you the proverbial $1 for 50 cents. In this article I’m going to explore what the ‘short interest’ in a stock tells you from the perspective of going long (i.e. it’s not about shorting stocks).read more

2014 review and portfolio update

2014 review and portfolio update

It’s that time of year again, and hard to believe it’s been 2 years since I started this blog. Time sure does fly. The second half of 2014 in the markets has been very interesting, unfortunately for my portfolio that wasn’t a good thing. Overall my portfolio was down 10% in H2 2014 compared to -0.7%% for the FTSE All share tracker and +5% for the S&P 500 tracker. My portfolio is 75% in the UK so the FTSE is the closest benchmark, but given how easy it is to invest in the S&P and hedge currency I aim to beat both benchmarks.read more

Are fossil fuels a bad investment?

Are fossil fuels a bad investment?

It’s hard to miss the carnage in oil stocks at the moment. I’m sure many, like me, are tempted to load up on them as oil reaches lows not seen since 2009. Surely this must be overdone, oil at $60 a barrel will not be sustained? Well that may be true, but the question I’m interested in is are fossil fuels going to prove to be a sensible investment long term?

‘Unburnable Carbon’ is a report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative. It raises an important issue at the moment, and that is if all the world’s fossil fuel companies extract and use all their proven reserves, the emissions will total 5 times the currently agreed limit by all major governments. There is a complete disconnect between the targets agreed by governments, and how the market is valuing fossil fuel reserves far in excess of those targets. In effect the market assumes the targets will be completely ignored.read more


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