Shuttering the Shop – A Brief Recap

I will soon start working in the investment management industry, and therefore, I have been forced to unwind almost all of my positions much earlier than anticipated.

From June 1st 2014 to May 31st 2015, my portfolio returned 5.15%. This is despite the massive cash holdings I have accumulated over the past year, now representing 43% of my portfolio as I have unwound multiple positions. Over the same timeframe the S&P 500 returned 9.56%. Considering the cash drag -43% of my portfolio earning <1% annually- I’m quite happy with the results. I’ve been wary of a market correction, and for personal reasons, have wanted greater liquidity. The rest is invested in passive ETFs as well as a handful of companies about which I feel truly compelling reasons to hold for the long-term.

Overall I came out of things quite happy. SWKS, JPM, GLW, and GILD all outperformed, while BP and FHCO lagged. My biggest mistakes come from small cap companies nobody has heard of. My Biotech Basket quickly became a roller coaster ride to hell, and I’ve always gotten a bit queasy on carnival rides. Lesson learned. Small Cap Biotech is outside of my circle of competence.

SWKS performed well beyond my wildest expectations, more than quintupling in value from my initial buy price. I still believe SWKS is a fantastic company riding a fantastic trend, and would recommend that investors continue holding for the long term despite the richer valuation.

Corning (GLW) has been another outperformer, beating the S&P 500 by 7% since my purchases in mid-2012 from prices between $10-12. This is another firm with a lot of long-term potential. Touch screens have only become bigger parts of our lives. I would probably still be holding if I could.

JPM handily beat the S&P500 by 30 percentage points since my initial $35-40 purchases in late 2011 and during the “London Whale” crisis in the spring of 2012. The stock yielded a 96% return for me, and I couldn’t be happier, though I would have liked to have held for a bit longer.

GILD, my most recent purchase from December at around $100 a share, is now trading around $120; while during the same time frame the S&P 500 is showing a 7% return. I’m most annoyed to be pushed out of this stock ahead of its time. I believe that Gilead will outperform over the next several years. Such is life.

FHCO tanked, and has yet to come back. I think the FC2 is a decent product, and that the new CEO has a good plan for recovery. Sales have picked back up, and while earnings are still extraordinarily lump, the current valuation is so low, that any uptick in earnings will make this stock attractive. I plan to continue holding over at least the next several months.

BP has resolved most of its legal woes, but got hit by the freight train of lower oil prices which has afflicted the entire industry. I also intend to continue holding BP for the rich dividend yield, which is currently north of 6%.

I continue to hold my Google stock, ACE, and SAN among other names. I remain bullish on tech, but due to the nature of my work, am forced to invest only in passive ETFs with my own money.

It’s been useful to me to record my thoughts in a public forum, and I will probably keep the site up for the foreseeable future. I love the domain name too much not to keep it.

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Author: secondhandstocks

The genesis for this blog stems from a Marine buddy and I came back from Afghanistan with more money than knowledge, and heedlessly tossed our hats into the stock market ring. A few months later, I remember discovering the classic book The Intelligent Investor by Graham and Dodd, and ravenously devouring my first introduction to value investing. That framework - with some generous additions by Seth Klarman, and Joel Greenblatt among others - guides my investment philosophy. I spent five years working in the intelligence field, both in the Marine Corps and then for a government agency after that. I speak Arabic and Pashto, have programming and analysis experience, and enjoy investing in technology companies as a hobby. I also spent a year on Wall Street working on a #1 Ranked Institutional Investor team, before deciding that that the Sell-Side was not for me.

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