Private Investor: Kazakhstan's riches are no laughing matter

Well, I've never had a prayer answered quite so quickly. Last week I was bemoaning the poor performance of my Vodafone shares, which, pretty much alone of the bigger cap stocks, have disappointed me.

I wondered whether it was just a matter of market sentiment, in that while once Vodafone could do nothing wrong, nowadays it could do nothing right, in the eyes of the professional investing community, at any rate. (I accept that there can be certain amount of reality behind "sentiment", but when you consider how crazy things got during the telecoms/internet boom, that can be fairly tenuous.)

Anyway, just as Marks & Spencer has produced a remarkable turnaround in performance and its share price, this week we have seen the beginnings of a similar re-rating of Vodafone. The last set of results were good, the comment positive and the brokers happily setting share price targets well in excess of where the shares stand now.

So I've decided to follow the market's momentum, and buy into Vodafone again, adding to my existing holding at 139p. This is, I guess, the average price I've paid over the past few years, averaging the 90p or so I bought the shares for after the tech shares crash, and the 200p to 400p I'd been buying them for previously. There doesn't seem much sign that the mobile telecoms industry is going to return to its heady days of growth, nor are there many indications that we've all gone 3G-crazy. The point is that the markets have suddenly woken up to the fact that Vodafone isn't actually a basket case, that it has indeed taken steps to address shareholder value by disposing of businesses and that more moves in this general line could follow.

It does not really matter to me which executives get on and do that, so if Mr Sarin has come good at last, fine by me. If they want to ditch him, that's fine, too.

Indeed, last week I witnessed something I never thought I'd see again: British Airways at the top of the FTSE 100 leaders board, with Vodafone not far behind. The dog share in the portfolio now is BSkyB, which slid last week on the back of pessimistic remarks by none other than Rupert Murdoch, doting father of James Murdoch, the chief executive of BSkyB. Well, with a Dad like that...

Those of us who are mere spectators in the crowd at the Murdoch family circus can only watch and wonder what is going on there. There's no clear picture as to how much the company's growth is really sustainable and how much is a matter of just "buying customers". The experts on whom I rely say one thing one month and another the next. I suppose they don't know, either. Maybe that's what they mean by "market sentiment". Anyway, it's fairly volatile regarding BSkyB at the moment, but I'm sticking with it, for now at least.

The sneaky little idea I now have in my mind is to buy Kazakhmys. This might seem crazy, because all the sensible thinking is that we're at the top of a mining stock boom (or bubble) and it can only be a matter of time before the Chinese economy catches a cold, America sneezes and the whole thing collapses.

Still, the long-term picture of emerging markets' growth and hunger for commodities should still be good and I'm a bit underweight on these stocks. All I have in the sector is a few shares in Rio Tinto I bought a long time ago and a small speculative holding in Falkland Oil and Gas. Both are showing very nice paper profits, but maybe the time has come to diversify a little more.

There's also the small matter of Borat. Those of us who emerged from cinemas weeping with laughter at Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (especially the naked wrestling scene) have a moral obligation to consider investing in the real Kazakhstan as well as mocking the fictitious one.

After all, we may think it's very funny, but the Government and the people of that central Asian republic do not seem to get the joke quite as easily.

The problem of course is that, in contrast to the poverty-case image projected by the Borat film, Kazakhmys shares are anything but cheap, and have been good value for some time. Despite my lack of faith in my own timing, I think I'll hold out and try to buy on a little weakness as it appears. All I hope is that my investment in Kazakhmys is quite as enjoyable as the Borat movie. Is naice!

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

    Quantitative Risk Manager

    Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits