Derek Pain: It can pay to keep a cool head in these unpredictable times
No Pain, No Gain
Saturday 17 September 2011
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.
Simon Read: Frozen in time - the expat British pensioners who deserve a better deal
Bargain Hunter: From The Outsider to 1984, catch a cut-price classic, read it in the rye
Donald MacInnes: My wasted hours in the retail deserts of Dixons-Carphone
Energy switching app Voltz allows users to switch with just a few taps
Money Insider: Smart alternatives to the pensioner bond
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
Day In a Page
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village