Private Investor: While the punters are away, it's time for a summer play
Saturday 14 August 2004
Anice light summer dalliance with a real mover is what I really fancy.
Anice light summer dalliance with a real mover is what I really fancy. Looking back over the market movers in the last few months, it seems to me that it has been the riskiest stocks that have been the most rewarding. Most of the rest have been dull.
Stuck in London for the summer, I think I have spotted how I could have some fun. August has emptied the market of backers of many small, speculative stocks. They have taken their dark glasses off to Monaco or Marbella, leaving their stories to wilt and the shares to wane from neglect.
Now is the time for bargain hunters to pounce - but only on companies with real attractions. There should be assets on the balance sheet (preferably cash) and they should be inexpensive to run (penny stocks for choice). But most important, the shares should look sure of recapturing their mentors' interest and former high ground when the holidays are over. After all, I only want a short-term summer punt.
Some of the speculative so-called shell companies look ideal picks. Though reduced, the City is not so empty that it is impossible to find an expert with a list of such busted companies, shorn of their operations but still with value. While not the rage they were in the dot.com boom, these have been coming back into fashion. They are still one of the easiest shortcuts to a stock market quote for a private company that can buy control of them.
So I now have a list of shell possibilities, attractively set up, mainly on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), with racy stories and some money to spend. One is Chaco Resources, a newly funded penny shell with ambitions on oil and gas in Paraguay. Another is Gaming Insight, from the self-styled shell-wallah Haresh Kanabar's stable. This has been emptied of its former greyhound racing broadcasting operations, and returned to AIM to seek acquisitions.
Aurum Mining is being pushed my way, although it is a bit above my budget at over 100p. But the gold run seems set to continue, and this cash shell plans to invest in mines in the resource-rich former Soviet Union.
Otherwise, tech stocks, right down in bargain basement territory, are surely a must. At a mere 1.5p I am looking at Cybit, whose software enables businesses to track their car fleets. Yet it has just announced a strong order book plus backing from Norwich Union Insurance in the form of a three-year strategic partnership to implement its software.
Oil cannot be left out and I have found one whose regular followers seem to have gone away, or tired of waiting. Desire Petroleum is exploring in the Falkland Islands. Its price went to 37p a few weeks ago on news that it had completed seismic studies. But since then the shares have drifted. Or I could go back to my shell list, where the recently floated oil investment company Ragusa Petroleum looks risky enough. It is rumoured to be closing a first deal.
But maybe these are a bit too racy. I am counselled by my sage broking friend, Murray Liddell at Redmayne Bentley, that it is not wise to be too frivolous, as that is the road to ruin. Take a punt if you must, is his view, but do it on shares that will pay dividends. More expensive, maybe, but not in the long run. And they will not cause worries when it is my turn to go on holiday. He suggests running with the cigarette group Gallagher: after all, whatever nanny-state pressures are deterring smokers here, the developing world smokes like a chimney. It's a frequent bid candidate story.
Another is Standard Chartered Bank, as a punt on the booming Asian economies. Land Securities is possible, because it looks to gain most from the new Property Investment Funds, based on the US Real Estate Investment Trusts, proposed by the Government.
Then there is GUS, because sooner or later the mega-retailer's Argos and Homebase empire will be broken up. Or BOC, as a beneficiary from IT recovery, because its gases are used to create the ideal environment for chip manufacture.
I'll go for a mix of prudence and frivolity: I can't be doing with too many sleepless nights.
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
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
Number of parents moving to their desired school catchment area is increasing, according to Santander research
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
Claims firms blamed as complaints soar over packaged bank accounts
- 1 Huawei Mate S and Huawei Watch: new products take on iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch
- 2 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 5 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
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
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
iJobs Money & Business
£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...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...
Day In a Page
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.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.
This Grade II-listed three-bedroom home is situated on a private road, just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.