I'll try and keep this brief as there is a lot going on in the world right now & October was, a is often the case, quite a poor one for the market.
Monthly Timing Indicators.
These in the main continue to suggest caution as the generally weak market returns in October kept the headline indices FTSE 350 & FTSE 100 6 to 7% or so below their trends. Somewhat surprisingly given what has been seen on the dividend front in my last post on here, the Mid 250 and Small cap indices fared better. As a result the 250 is only around 1% below its trend, while the Small Cap index has remarkably made it back into positive territory against its moving average trend as it actually saw positive total returns in October.
Compound Income Portfolio
The Portfolio saw a negative total return of -2.65% in October which was 1.17% better or less bad than the -3.82% from the FTSE All Share. This leaves the portfolio with a -12.76% total return for the year to date compared to -22.98% from the FTSE All Share. If I was still a fund manager I'd be delighted with a 10% out performance, but as a private investor I guess it is bit meh, but not too bad for a fairly low attention mechanical / Quant type approach. The full history and total returns over the last 5 and a half years are available in a table here if that's of any interest to you and these and comparisons with various UK indices are summarised in the graph at the end of this piece after the music playlist.
As for this months Screening there were three natural sells which came up based on their Scores. One of these was a long standing House Builder holding which I let go as it seems to me that the current run in the housing market may not be sustainable. That may of course prove to be too pessimistic if the Stamp Duty holiday and the Help to Buy Scheme should get extended next year like many of the other support schemes at the moment. The other two were at the smaller end of the scale. Despite these looking reasonable quality and being potentially cheap and oversold, they are still suffering from downgrades and an uncertain outlook - so following the process I let them go, although personally I might have been prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt for the longer term.
Against that I made some purchases of larger businesses in similar related areas of activity to the last two smaller stocks that were sold. While I replaced the house builder (despite my own reservations about miners) with a larger Gold miner which I'd skipped in recent months as the portfolio already had a smaller Gold miner, but it may now be a time for more exposure to gold perhaps? So I let it be bought this month as it had drifted back with the Gold price in recent months and we are apparently entering a seasonally stronger period for Gold.
Summary & Conclusion
So a difficult month for most UK Indices and the Compound Income Portfolio although it managed to outperform the broader market probably in part thanks to its greater exposure to Mid & Smaller Cap stocks which managed to outperform too.
The UK Market Timing indicators continue to suggest a cautious approach overall, although Small Caps have turned bullish which may or may not be of any significance to the broader market, but here's to hoping it is.
Any way as we enter a second lock down in England I'll leave you with some music to be going on with in a Playlist I made up during the last lock down and have add to since - enjoy (?) and I hope that you and your family manage to stay safe and well through what looks like being a tough winter.
A surprisingly busy even manic Monday today, or maybe even Blue Monday as I see #bluemonday is trending on twitter today.
As far as the Compound Income Scores portfolio (CISP) goes we have had positive US tax related update from Bodycote (BOY) where they say it will add 5p or around 10% to this years earnings thanks to a one-off revaluation of US net deferred tax liabilities. In addition they said that Q4 trading had been strong & therefore the Board now expects full year 2017 headline operating profit to be towards the upper end of market expectations (company compiled analysts' estimates range: £117 million - £126 million). So continued good momentum in the business and the shares here, although this has left it looking poor on the value front as it approaches the upper end of my normal comfort range at around 20x with a circa 2% yield.
Also on the US tax cut front Ferguson (FERG) outlined the effects of this and the reduced tax charge they will have going forward. They didn't give explicit guidance as to the effects but I would expect we will see upgrades here too. This should help to continue their strong momentum where the price has broken out to new highs. While they are good quality and offer slightly better value than Bodycote.
Away from US related tax changes we had an operational update from Central Asia Metals (CAML) which saw production towards the top end of their expectations. For the coming year they affirmed expectations of similar production levels at this stage and confirmed that as of 31 December 2017, CAML had cash in the bank of $46 million.
Finally XL Media (XLM) announced the acquisition of a number of leading Finnish gambling related informational websites from Good Game Ltd for a total cash consideration of up to €15 million. The Acquisition is expected to complete during the first quarter of 2018 and to be immediately earnings enhancing in the current financial year following completion. Seems fine and a continuation of their acquisition strategy, although on this occasion it is not diversifying but bulking up their original core operations.
That's it for the CISP today so I'll leave you with some music appropriate to today's title to choose from and cheer you up if you need it or not as the case may be. Happy Investing & listening.
Today's update of note for the CISP is another of the portfolios longer term winners in the shape of XP Power (XPP) - which if you are not familiar with it (you can click the name link for more details) is a £700m United Kingdom-based developer and manufacturer of critical power control components for the electronics industry.
They had Q4 trading update today in which they said the Company had a good finish to the year, in line with the Board's expectations, as the strong order intake reported in the third quarter drove robust revenue growth in the final quarter. Other points of note were that they moved into a small net debt position following the acquisition of Comdel on 29 September 2017 for US$23.0 million (£17.0 million), net debt at 31 December 2017 was £10.1 million, compared with a net cash position of £3.6 million at 31 December 2016.
They also said that the 4th quarterly dividend is not expected to be less than 28 pence per share, representing a minimum total dividend of 77 pence per share for 2017, an increase of 8% over the total dividend of 71 pence per share paid for 2016. Furthermore on the outlook they said they are encouraged by the continued strong order intake experienced across the business during the second half of 2017 and the overall book to bill level for the year and that they enter 2018 with positive momentum and therefore expect to grow orders and revenue in 2018 above that in 2017. I would suggest you check out the full statement at their investor relations part of their website for full details if you are interested in researching this one further.
As far as the CISP goes it remains in the portfolio as it continues to score highly, although the valuation has got a bit higher than I would normally entertain for new purchases at 24 to 25x with a yield of just over 2%. However, having trimmed it late last year in a portfolio re-balancing, I'm allowing it to run as a winner while it continues to make the cut on the scores despite my reservations about the valuation, as it does seem like a good quality operation.
Finally talking of quality companies and winners, the latest Compound Income Scores are out today. So if you are not already a subscriber and would like to be able to sort the good form the bad and the ugly and pick some future winners for yourself, then check out more details about the Scores and how you can gain access to them by clicking here or in the Scores navigation tab on the site. Otherwise thanks for reading, have a great weekend and good luck with your investing and see below for a couple of tunes / videos on today's theme.
I thought I would take another look at models as the BBC are doing a series of features and programmes this week about robots and the possibilities offered by artificial intelligence, including this piece titled: Intelligent Machines: The jobs robots will steal first.
Regular readers will know that I have been developing and running an on going experiment with my own Scores Model which so far has been performing well. So with that in mind I thought I would revisit the case for using models in investing as it has been proven in many different fields that models or algorithms can often outperform experts and even when the experts have access to the models the models tend to act as a ceiling to prediction performance rather than a floor.
Don't take my word for it as there was a great white paper a while ago from Wesley Gray the Author of one of my favourite recent investing books Quantitative Value. On his site Alpha Architect as well as great research like this they also offer some free screening tools too. In this paper he looked at much of the background to the case for systemic decision making, giving examples of experts versus models in section 4.
However don't despair because before that in section 2 he did see a place for experts in the research, development and assessment of models, just not in the implementation as shown in this graphic below from the paper.
With that in mind I have been assessing my own Scores model as it has been implemented in a mechanical way and I do have a tweak to it that I plan to introduce at the next quarterly review at the end of this month - so watch out for that and if I get around to writing it up in more detail. If you are not interested in my model or don't want to develop your own then I would also recommend Stockopedia and their Stock ranking system, if you are not familiar with it, as the humans there have done a great job in developing a successful model for identifying stocks which are good value, quality and have momentum. It is a subscription based service but you can read more about it and get a two week free trial by clicking the link above if that is of interest to you.
Talking of models I note that there is also a ranking system for human models at a website called models.com where you can check out their rankings for models of the year 2014 and lots of other categories too if that is of any interest. Finally given the subject today I can't finish with out a bit of media to go with it. So on the visual front there was a good series recently on Channel 4 called Humans - which was about synths helping with domestic and other chores which was quite entertaining and worth catching up with if you missed it. While on the audio front this one seems appropriate. <END>
As regular readers know I have a dual passion for investing and music and further to my last post which featured Supertramp and Crisis What Crisis, I thought I would inflict upon you some more of my Dodgy musical taste - they were a band too incidentally and apparently they are still going and even on tour soon. If that is of interest click the not at all dodgy link above to find out more.
So in the same way that Radio stations tend to do count downs of various musical genres on Bank Holidays to fill up their airwaves, like Radio 2 Beatles versus Elvis today I'll do the same with my blog. So with that in mind for a bit of fun I thought I would try and come up with my own count down of vaguely market / investment related music. So here goes in reverse order, click the highlighted links to watch / listen if you want to.
10. Staying Out For the Summer - Dodgy - which could relate to the old adage of sell in May and go away?
9. What Goes On - Velvet Underground - Starts What goes on in your mind - has to be a reference to behavioural finance?
8. Money - Pink Floyd - A classic track and what Investing is all about at the end of the day?
7. Wall Street Shuffle - 10CC - A classic tune may be about their investing experience as it was recorded in the 1970's?
6. Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas - A good description of what happens at the end of a market cycle?
5. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits - What people think they can get at top this stage of a cycle?
4. 48 Crash - Suzi Quatro - The original rock chick in her leather cat suit and the % correction you may get after a boom?
3. Down Down - Status Quo - The old geezers and what happens to share prices in a bear market?
2. The Only Way is Up - Yazz - Technically she sang about property but could refer to shares after a bear market?
1. Mr. Blue Sky - ELO - Could refer to those hyping loss making stocks and what everyone wants on a Bank holiday!
Have a good one - rock on and let's hope it doesn't turn into a Boulevard of Broken Dreams and we get a Green Day tomorrow and given how my mechanical Scores portfolio perhaps I should get someone to Wake me up when September Ends? In the meantime feel free to add your suggestions in the comment section if you are bored.