Private Investor: Here's one banking giant I'll hang on to
Saturday 06 January 2007
Only a few days in and already the Footsie's started its ups and downs. Moves either way in the index of about 50 points may seem alarming, but what might once have been regarded as frightening levels of turbulence are much more calmly taken nowadays.
Mind you, I've learnt not to panic before, so what's happening doesn't necessarily presage much more stormy times ahead. Only fools predict where the Footsie will be in a year's time, and predictions, so one wiseacre writes in the Investors Chronicle, are immoral as well as unwise. Still, I'm reasonably optimistic, and take some comfort in the fact that almost all of the FTSE 100 index's movements can be accounted for by the fortunes of the mining companies.
It seems to me that if you had the nerve and the funds you could make quite a bit out of nipping in and out of some of these stocks - the likes of Kazakhmys say, or, more sensibly Rio Tinto or Billiton. They seem to have a pretty regular rhythm, but you wouldn't want to be holding great slugs of them when this particular game of financial musical chairs grinds to a halt.
As it happens, I'm more interested in selling shares, to fund a property purchase. Nothing speculative, you understand. You may take this as a "sell" signal on the UK residential property market, as my timing is usually fairly bad. The tricksy bit - and don't get me wrong, I'm not bragging - is that I don't want to sell too many shares where I'm sitting on a nice paper profit because if I flog too many of those I'll have to pay capital gains tax, like the big boys. So we have an interesting little fiscal twist here, an example of how the tax system can distort rational financial behaviour. Well, mostly rational in my case.
Thus, I'll be clearing out my own kennel of dog shares: Vivendi, On Line, Reuters, Telecom Plus and, most disappointingly, Smallbone, the posh kitchen fitters. More will follow. One share I'm happy to hang on to, complete with its little paper profit, is Royal Bank of Scotland.
I bought this a year ago and it hasn't really done much until now. It's been tipped by The Independent, no less, as a share to buy for 2007, and is the subject of a strong buy note from UBS, which describes RBS as the cheapest big banking group on the block.
Merrill Lynch also rate it as a buy, with a price target of 2,261p. The shares have crested the 2,000p mark, itself about 10 per cent up on where I managed to buy them and not far off its all-time high. The group seems to have improved its bad losses, in contrast to most UK banks, though I don't suppose it would be immune from a serious slowdown in the economy.
There again about half its earnings nowadays come from abroad, and things are improving across all of its business activities. It yields 3.7 per cent and it trades on the most modest ratio of its peers - mainly because it is not seen as a bid target in the way that Barclays, Alliance and Leicester and others periodically are. I'd like to hang on to RBS and maybe even add to it, no matter what happens.
It should prove as solid as its magnificent head office building in Edinburgh. I say that because work took me there over the festive season. A thought occurred to me as it must have done to you if you've ever traversed the vast wilderness that is so much of the UK. Why don't we just build all over it? Not the bits of special scientific interest or the areas of outstanding natural beauty. No one wants to see a Bovis estate on National Trust land. But it just seems to me that the likes of Migration Watch go on and on about "our overcrowded island." Only if you're sitting in the middle of London or Sheffield, I should think.
I know we're almost as densely populated, according to the stats as Holland or Hong Kong or something, but it's just that I would have thought you could double the size of say Ely or Peterborough or Carlisle and no one would much notice. No endangered species would die out and no one would miss the view.
Why have I taken this strange detour? Because I'm worried. I think it's great to get Polish plumbers and Bulgarian builders and Romanian spud pickers to come and do the jobs we can't or won't do. Trouble is it's yet another push on the housing market. So why don't we just get building to meet the demand? As a house buyer I'd like to see a much more sustainable, stable market. So would we all.
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
Interest-only mortgages return to give more flexibility to borrowers
Bargain Hunter: Exclusive discount on a SmartGlider - a self-balancing electric scooter
My Tinder date asked for a refund when I declined a second meet up
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
Be warned of the dirty tricks the bailiffs pull
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...
£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...
Day In a Page
This five-bedroom home in Sutton Coldfield is arranged over three floors, with a detached garage to the rear and a driveway at the front of the property.
In an elevated position above the bay, this four-bedroom home offers sea and headland views. There is a decked balcony and sun terrace - plus coastal walks on the doorstep.
With four bedrooms, this spacious maisonette in a mid-terrace period-style house in Holland Road is well-maintained and offers high ceilings and period features.
The terraces of this two-bedroom penthouse apartment offer panoramic views that stretch over fifty miles from the cliffs of Beachy Head.
In the heart of the coastal village of Mumbles and moments from the pier, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is set over three floors and retains many original features.
In a sandbanks location, moments from the beach, this three-bedroom apartment has a large open-plan living area and a south-west facing balcony.
This four-bedroom home has an annexe accessed from the side of the house, with potential for improvement and conversion subject to the necessary permissions.
In the heart of the hamlet of Wardley, this five-bedroom period home offers countryside views and a stylish interior, with original features and open fireplaces.
Offering countryside views and landscaped gardens, this three-bedroom Grade II-listed lodge has a spacious conservatory and a large cellar that could serve as a workshop.
Set in approximately 1.5 acres, this four-bedroom home comes with a second, detached property that's currently used as an annexe.
In the hamlet of Newchurch, this former parish church is now a four-bedroom home complete with clock tower and eyrie.
Offering scenic views from a large balcony and sun terrace, this four-bedroom home has a wraparound garden and a heated swimming pool.
Offering views across the Humber and East Yorkshire Wolds from a glass panelled balcony, this four-bedroom barn-style home befits a life of leisure.
This four-bedroom home offers versatile accommodation with annexe potential; features include a hot tub, sauna and Norwegian BBQ hut.
Well-located for schools, colleges and the town centre, this contemporary thatched cottage offers flexible living space with six bedrooms.
Built in 1907, this four-bedroom Edwardian period home has been refurbished by the current owners, retaining many original period features.
Surrounded by landscaped gardens, this five-bedroom home offers living space across three floors.
This lovely country home in Burnham Market is currently run as a popular holiday cottage, with five en suite bedrooms and colourful gardens.
This three-bedroom 17th-century former village bakery is just a few miles from the East Sussex coast.
Set on a landscaped plot, this light and airy four-bedroom home comes with a log burner in the lounge, a fitted kitchen and an open-plan ground-floor layout.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Built on a former chapel site, this impressive four-bedroom home boasts balconies, stunning views and contemporary modern living.
This three-bedroom house is situated in a quiet mews and set over three floors. Features include glazed staircases and high ceilings.
A period townhouse set over four floors, this five-bedroom home was built in the 18th Century and retains many original features.
With five bedrooms, this spacious home offers beautiful gardens and modern interiors - set within the popular market town of Bingley.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This first-floor flat comes with two bedrooms, an impressive open-plan reception room and two lovely roof terraces.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Moored at Taggs Island and reached via a pretty garden, this two-bedroom houseboat has a vaulted reception room and skylit garden studio - currently a beauty salon.
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
A contemporary house spread over three storeys, this three-bedroom detached home has large sliding doors that open out to the River Quaggy.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
This former village bakery, dating back to the 17th century, is now a three-bedroom detached home just a few miles from the East Sussex coast.
On the picturesque Isle of Man, this four-bedroom character home has a ground-floor shop that's currently run as a newsagents and a flat that would make an ideal holiday let.
In a new collection of flats, this first-floor two-bedroom apartment offers ample entertaining space and a prime view of Furze Green from a private balcony.
This three-bedroom stone-built cottage currently trades as the village store with a restaurant in the annexe and family accommodation on the upper floors.
Previously two semi-detached properties, this five-bedroom home is spread over three floors with a large breakfast kitchen, orangery, office and gym on the second floor.
This five-bedroom home enjoys countryside views over the Blyth estuary to Southwold, offering flexible living space with a ground-floor annexe - ideal for use as a holiday let.
Close to the market town of Eye, this four-bedroom detached home offers a double-height living room which takes the place of the original, 19th-century, chapel nave.
Dating back to the 19th century, this four-bedroom home needs modernising. Spanning three storeys, the red-brick house has a fireplace, a small terrace and a cellar.
Just outside of Cambridge, this single-storey home offers three double bedrooms, a living room with vaulted timber ceiling and ladder steps that lead to a mezzanine study area.
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn.
A former coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, an attached office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Located beside an impressive Victorian viaduct, this four-bedroom home has an open-plan living area that is glazed on two sides, with skylights and high ceilings.
A former furniture workshop, this three-bedroom home has high ceilings and painted brick walls, in a village setting only fifteen miles from the coast.
This five-bedroom stone townhouse features a pine staircase and an Inglenuk fireplace, double doors from the lounge give access to an enclosed courtyard.
This five-bedroom, detached home blends traditional and modern design; the sleek kitchen features a gas hob and oven set within an exposed chimney breast.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.