Derek Pain: It can pay to keep a cool head in these unpredictable times

No Pain, No Gain

Perhaps, it is not surprising that the No Pain, No Gain portfolio has endured a rocky three months. Trying to combat the witless behaviour of shares these days is something of an ordeal. The quarterly retreat is quite substantial – more than £4,000. I had hoped a few encouraging successes would mitigate the decline that has blighted the stock market. But the sheer savageness of the selling has proved too powerful. Most buy and hold investors are no doubt suffering. The old saying, sell in May and buy again after St Leger Day, has proved to be at least half right this year.

Whether day traders have survived in style is unclear. I would not be surprised if some suffered nasty reverses. But it is possible to make killings in bear markets – as has been proved many times – and astute quick in-and-out specialists (and short sellers) could be rubbing their hands with glee and hoping the atmosphere will remain nervous and gloomy.

For long-term players these stressful times are hardly conducive to happy investing. Yet it has been proved time and again that investors who refuse to panic and let the hysteria pass over them are long-term winners. It is, I believe, also a time to buy. Of course it is sometimes necessary to realise shares at depressed levels but, in the main, shareholders should hang on if they can. To quote a now rather discredited line once used to help win an election – "things can only get better".

But it must be admitted that dark clouds are likely to engulf the world's share markets for some time. The US economy seems woefully weak and the euro lurches from one pantomime debacle to another. Yet many companies, while facing challenging conditions, continue to enjoy handsome rewards. With perhaps a couple of exceptions I remain happy with portfolio constituents. Patsystems, I feel, looks the most vulnerable but I intend to stick around, at least for the time being. And NCI Vehicle Rescue has had a difficult time, suffering an £8,400 loss against a restated £123,000 profit. No dividend is being paid this time. Such a result is disappointing although, perhaps, better than expected. The shares retreated a few coppers on the results. Like Patsystems, question marks hang over its continuing portfolio membership. Two constituents were ditched in the quarter but their dismissals had nothing to do with the general stock market's retreat but related to their poor performances. We all make mistakes but I seem to compound my errors by a reluctance to sell when danger threatens.

Capital Pub Co was the quarter's hit. The portfolio nearly doubled its money following the take over by Greene King. Cheques have been despatched.

Northern Petroleum, recruited last month, has lost no time justifying its enrolment. The shares bounded ahead following the revelation that Tullow Oil had struck oil off the coast of South America. Oil and gas exploration is noted for throwing up uncomfortable surprises. But the stock market has warmed to this strike and available omens are encouraging. Northern has a mere 1.25 per cent interest in the venture but I have seen estimates that its stake could be worth up to 50p a Northern share. The company also has considerable interests in Italy and Holland as well as this country. It was the European interests that attracted the portfolio. But I am not complaining. After all every investor needs a little luck.

Whitbread is the other top performer. The shares are well down from their year's high but last week's update proved how much the stock market is besotted with economic woes. The shares jumped more than 100p as the leisure group, once a "big six" brewer, reported booming sales in its Costa Coffee operation and a sound display by the Premier Inns budget hotel side. Pub/restaurants served flat numbers but the group's overall display sent the doubters running for cover.

The departure of Capital means membership is down to "unlucky" 13. I don't like tempting fate so I will try to add to my collection as quickly as possible. One possible recruit is Animalcare but the shares look a little high for these straitened times. Figures, due soon, may shed more light on the valuation. Another possibility is H&T but the pawnbroker has proved to be a beneficiary of the recessionary environment. Still recent share weakness may mean I'm not too late to enjoy the party.

yourmoney@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

News
Nick Clegg on the campaign trail in Glasgow on Wednesday; he says education is his top priority
peopleNick Clegg remains optimistic despite dismal Lib Dem poll ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £32,000+

    £18000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

    £50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?