Here is a quick update on the trades that resulted from the latest monthly screening on the Compound Income Scores Portfolio (CISP) which is based off of the Compound Income Scores. For a reminder this generally tries to pick new holdings from the top Decile & hold positions which at least rank in the top quartile.
Thus the sale candidates which came up as a result of their scores dropping below 75 were: Miton Group (MGR), Ferguson (FERG) and Hays (HAS). Of these Miton Group was the closest call as it had a score of 72 on the back of a low quality score form their variable margins & low ROCE in recent years plus, somewhat surprisingly some recent downgrades. it had however re-rated since it was bought at the turn of the year and provided a total return of 57.4% for the portfolio, including the annual dividend. As the CISP has two fund managers with the other holding in this sector being Jupiter Fund Management which looks cheaper and scores better than Miton (despite having seen bigger downgrades) so I decided to let Miton be sold, although overall it is probably still OK if you wanted to run with it yourself.
Ferguson's score had also slipped due to downgrades and middling quality and reduced value after a 20%+ rise in the price since it was purchased so that went too. Hays was similar although in this case, although the Score was well below the cut off I was tempted to keep it as the score mostly seemed to have deteriorated on not much news and they have a trading update coming up. But given that and the fact that chart seems to be in the middle I guess that could go either way when they update so again I let this one go through.
The replacement candidates that came up again included Plus500 which I have avoided putting in the fund due to my own reservations to detriment of the fund. If I had allowed it when it first came up it would now be showing a 50%+ gain. I see this week they have delivered another positive profits warning although on this occasion the price has not really responded. So maybe the market has caught up to this one now?
So that aside I did plump to put some Ramsdens Group (RFX) into the fund to replace Miton Group. This brings foreign currency (travel money), jewellery retailing, Pawn broking and a bit of a roll out story to the portfolio and might provide some defensive aspects if things do cut up rough given their exposure to the gold price and more demand for the pawn if the economy should go into reverse. It also looks quite cheap on less than 10x with a 4%+ yield and as a bonus was looking oversold thanks to some badly handled / communicated directors sales last week. I was probably biased in favour of this one though as I bought some myself recently too, but in my defence I note Stockopedia rates it as a Super Stock.
Next in was Qinetiq (QQ.) which describes itself as a leading science and engineering company operating primarily in the defence, security and aerospace markets (click their name & the other two to visit the investor relations websites if you want to learn more about them and research them further). It seems a pretty good quality play with improving fundamentals, although it is not the cheapest stock in the market, but nevertheless it brings something different to the portfolio and Scores well with a CIS of 97 so in it goes. Again I probably have a bias here, but in favour of this one as I bought it myself earlier in the year in the low 200's, although again this is a Super Stock according to Stockopedia.
Finally for a bit more defensive stodge I reluctantly allowed Wynnstay (WYN) to re-enter the portfolio, despite its previous low return appearance. It seems to be recovering from a difficult patch and has seen upgrades after their interim results and Stockopedia have it down as a Super Stock too so who am I to argue. If it can return to its previous highs from last year, then it could at least provide a 20%+ return this time around which might be more exciting, but I wouldn't hold your breathe as this seems like a boring dependable stock, albeit low quality with low stable margins of around 2%, which has been around as a business for 100 years, but sometimes boring is good! I note it is a bit over bought in the short term, so if you are tempted you might get a better entry point if you are patient or not as the case may be. Personally I struggle to get excited about this one with its low margins, but for the record Stockopedia seems to think this one is a Super Stock too - so appropriately given what it does, their Stock Rank system is er... bullish on this one!
Click a chart any chart below to bring up a larger view and you can then scroll right through them.
A brief update this time on a couple of sets of results from shares in the Compound Income Scores Portfolio. Firstly somewhat belatedly I report that we had results for the year to 31st December 2017 from Portmeirion Group(PMP) last week which is the supplier of branded goods in ceramic tableware, cookware, giftware and tabletop accessories. These were another good set of number and we summed up by the chairman when he said:
"We are delighted to be reporting a ninth consecutive year of record revenue and a record profit before taxation. Our core values of innovation, targeted product development and operational excellence remain unchanged, and we are pleased to report on the successful integration of the Wax Lyrical home fragrance business into the Group. Trading in the first two months of the current year is ahead of the comparative period in 2017. The outlook for 2018 is positive and we remain confident for the future."
Overall it remains a small and seemingly well managed company which looks reasonable value on around 14x earnings with a near 3.5% and growing yield, although it is hard to get excited about it, sometimes boring stocks can be good and it still scores well on the the CIS so boring or not it will remain in the portfolio for now.
Meanwhile in a more timely fashion we have also had full year results for 2017 form the small fund management group - Miton (MGR) which as they had already suggested were better than expected. These substantially beat existing forecasts & even matched or exceeded those that had been pencilled in for 2018 by the analysts. In addition as I flagged in January when I added it to the portfolio the dividend was also much better than expected coming in at 1.4p for 40% growth rather than the 10% or so that had been suggested by analysts as this also actually matched what they had in for 2018. Thus I suspect upgrades will be likely here as they seem well placed to make further progress unless volatile markets or a bigger sell off generally should de-rail them. They still look good value on 12.6x the eps they have just reported and with a yield of 3.3% too from the dividend just declared.
I suggest you read the results if you want more information & if you perceive that it is dependent on one fund manager, in the name of Gervais Williams, then you should check out their people & teams page from their investor relations web site to reassure you about the strength and depth of experience that they have on board.
Just a quick update on the performance of the Compound Income Scores Portfolio (CISP). After such a promising start it was a fairly disappointing month in the end. FTSE 100 and the broader FTSE All Share Index both ended the month with total returns of nearly -2%, while the Mid 250 stocks did slightly worse with -2.24%. As is often the way at the start of a sell off (if that's what this is) the Fledgling & Small Cap Indices held up better with Small Caps flat and Fledgling stocks actually delivering positive returns of 1.83%. The more general weakness seems to have been led by nervousness about rising bond yields on the back of the gradual withdrawal of Central Bank Quantitative Easing or QE being therefore replaced by Quantitative Tightening or QT.
So onto the CISP and its returns for the month of January were similarly drab but were at least just about positive at +0.06%. This compared to the 1.93% loss from the FTSE All Share giving 2% of out performance on the month. Since inception of this portfolio in April 2015 it is now up by 68.8% which equates to an annualised return of 25.3%, albeit that this has been achieved in a very favourable market background. Within the portfolio it was pleasing to see one of last months new purchases - Miton Group (MGR) - coming in as the top performer with a near 20% rise, while Hays Group and Bodycote delivered 11.5% and 6.6% respectively on the back of their updates. On the downside the laggards were Games Workshop (-10%), Jupiter Fund Management (-6.1%) & Bellway (-4.3%) which all probably succumbed to profit taking after previous strong performance.
Personally since I'm be using the Compound Income Scores, together with Stockopedia Stock Ranks more this year to manage my portfolios I was also able to benefit from the rise in Miton Group too. I firmly believe that these quant models can be a great help in identifying shares that outperform, as demonstrated by CISP and other portfolios based on ranking sytems. If you are not familiar with the Compound Income Scores (which have been updated for subscribers today) you can read more about the background to them and how to get access to them if you want by clicking here.
Finally we have the US Unemployment data with the non-farm payrolls today. These should still be fine, while the main FTSE Indices all still remain about 2.2 to 2.4% above their moving averages, with the Small Cap index is nearly 4% above. So these still suggest that we should not be that worried about the sell off just yet, although I guess it could develop into something nasty given valuations and the levels of complacency that have built up over the last few years on the back of QE which meant that corrections were few and far between recently.
...which is usually a busy day for announcements for some reason and today was no exception to that. So if you think that will be of any interest to you then click below to read more.
With it being the first week of the new month and a New Year in this case I undertook the monthly re-screening of the portfolio having not done any trades on the back of the one in December given the likely thin market conditions and some marginal sales that came up at that time. There were however two natural sales this month, the first of which was the insurance broker Jardine Lloyd Thomson (JTL) which had only entered the portfolio at the end of October on the back of some upgrades. This time around the score had deteriorated to 69 as the previous upgrades seemed to have been reversed. This was now well below the 75 to 80 sale threshold that I normally use, having been just around it in December. Thus it was a natural sale on the process and therefore booked a small profit of around 6% on this as the share price had risen despite the downgrades. Personally I felt indifferent about it too as it is on close to 20x with a 2.6% yield and only had fairly modest dividend growth forecasts of 5.3% in the current year.
This was replaced with another financial in the shape of Miton Group (MGR) the small (£64m Market Cap.) fund management company, although the emerging market specialist City of London Group (CLIG) ran it a close second as it seems pretty stable, good value and emerging markets still seem relatively cheap. I did also debate this with myself as the portfolio already has a fund manager and a broking company, but hey we are in a bull market and global economies seem set fair so I let it go in as the highest scoring qualifying candidate after applying my value constraints. The other attraction with Miton, in contrast to JLT, was that it had already said they were going to beat forecasts and had upgrades accordingly. Despite this and a rise in the price post the announcement it seems to have drifted back since (on profit taking presumably), so it also seemed to be offering an attractive entry point. It also offers reasonable valuation characteristics of a PE under 12x and a yield of close to 4% based on next years (December 2018) forecasts which suggest dividend growth of 27% after this years forecast 10%. That does seem like quite a jump so maybe this years dividend could be better than expected as analysts often upgrade earnings but fail to adjust their dividend forecasts, plus they have a cash rich balance sheet too. Finally also worth noting that they only seem to pay the dividend once a year in May with an XD in March - so another reason why this may be an opportune moment to pick some up. However, given the small market cap. it may not be that liquid, but in the interests of full disclosure I have managed to buy some myself having booked a decent trading profit on some Polar Capital (POLR) that I picked up towards the end of last year after they had strong upgrades.
The second natural sale based on a decline in its score, also primarily on downgrades, was the expensive, quality, defensive(?) stock Diageo (DGE) where the score had fallen to 73 making it much more of a marginal call. The valuation is looking stretched though as the share price momentum it has displayed has left it with a PE of 22.2x, a yield of 2.55% and an earnings yield of less than 5%. So I decided to follow the process rather than my own feelings as personally I continue to hold it as part of a broader diversified income portfolio.
A couple of similar or defensive type stocks which came up as possible replacements were Stock Spirits (STCK) and AB Foods (ABF). Neither of these seemed particularly cheap either so in the end I replaced it with a much cheaper, but more cyclical company which scores highly. This was the equipment rental firm VP which trades on a sub 10x PE with a yield of 3.2% with dividend growth forecast to be 15% and a good track record on that front too. It had also seen upgrades recently on the back of an upbeat trading statement, although the shares had also drifted back a bit recently too. It does feel a bit like I'm coming late to this particular party, but then that's what following a quantitative process does, makes you take what feel like uncomfortable decisions. In this case I can probably rationalize it given the valuation and the strongish economic background generally.
Other candidates in a similar space were Ashtead (AHT), dismissed because it yielded under 2% and Somero (SOM) which was sold back in August for the portfolio, but which I picked up myself toward the end of last year. It looks pretty solid (pun intended) assuming they can deliver the promised second half recovery from poor weather related trading in H1. It didn't score as well as or look such good value as VP on a PE and yield basis, although it does offer a more attractive looking earnings yield, but personally I can see the attractions and they could also be a beneficiary of the recently proposed US tax changes.
So there ends the update on the trades & other ideas from the Compound Income Scores Portfolio monthly screening and don't forget if you would like to identify more opportunities like these yourself by using the Compound Income Scores as part of your investment research process too, then you can read more about them and gain access to them for the equivalent of just £1 a week by clicking here or on the Scores menu in the navigation menu toward the top of the site or the three bars if you are on a mobile / tablet. Here's to a Happy and Prosperous New Year.