Jeff's portfolio for heckling

Once in a while, I've posted my current equity portfolio on METAR for comments and heckling.  Obviously I 
am not one to come to for investment advice, but rather seek the feedback of others.

Less than half of the portfolio are companies based in the US.  Many of the foreign companies were picked
up when I was inspired during my travels to their native countries by observing them in their native environment.

Since Yahoo melted down, I've had to hand-work more of my analytics, but such is life and while the 
designations are far from perfect, I've at least attempted to separate the positions by sector as well as geography.

While it's not obvious from the breakdown, one of the major threads tying many of the choices is that
they are involved in various functions of artificial intelligence and robotics.  There is also a 
perception that emerging markets (and even Europe) will grow at a faster rate than the US.

Just for fun, while I've sorted the portfolio by position size (both A and B shares of Berkshire 
Hathaway have been combined for simplicity). 

Yes, I know there are a lot of different shares represented, but it is rare for me to hold mutual funds 
or ETF's and this lets me play around and have fun, rather than just hold a slug of SPY and a bunch of 
foreign ETF's.

There are an awful lot of very good companies which are not represented (some of which have been 
recently sold), in general, because I feel they have become overvalued.  As an explanation, there is a 
fair amount of trading done from time to time, so most of these shares have not been represented in the 
portfolio for more than a couple of years.  I am frankly becoming more than
a little nervous about the valuation of the US market and this probably explains why my tools keep 
telling me to sell US stocks and replace them with foreign ones.  Oh, one more note, if you're having
problems finding some of the symbols, the ones ending with ".AX" have been procured on the Austrailian
market in Aussie bucks and the ones ending in ".VX" have been bought on the Swiss bourse in Swiss Francs.
This adds currency risk on top of market risks, but that's another game I regularly play.
If you think the positions should be parsed in some other fashion, please let me know.


     Ticker                Company            % of Port   % Gain/Loss        Country
BRK-A,B         Berkshire Hathaway Inc. A and  13.12%        7.47%                       Financial
GOOG            Alphabet Inc.                  10.62%        10.60%                      Technology
RDS-A           Royal Dutch Shell Plc Royal D   6.50%        13.64%     England          Material
NESN.VX         Nestle N                        6.04%        25.73%     Switzerland      Consumer
RIO.AX          Rio Tinto Fpo                   5.92%        12.53%     Australia        Material
BHP.AX          Bhp Blt Fpo                     5.31%        1.24%      Australia        Material
IBM             International Business Machin   4.67%        5.71%                       Technology
NOVN.VX         Novartis N                      3.93%        8.78%      Switzerland      Pharma
BABA            Alibaba Group Holding Limited   3.89%        8.17%      China            Technology
VWO             Vanguard Ftse Emerging Market   3.75%        7.02%      Emerging Mkt     Emerging Mkt ETF
AAPL            Apple Inc.                      3.59%        13.78%                      Technology
MSFT            Microsoft Corporation           3.41%       128.70%                      Technology
SAN             Banco Santander, S.A. Sponsor   2.67%        19.29%     Spain            Financial
OMRNY           Omron Corp                      2.61%       139.20%     Japan            Technology
ROG.VX          Roche Gs                        2.53%        -1.93%     Switzerland      Pharma
TCEHY           Tencent Hldgs Ltd               2.25%        31.25%     China            Technology
CSCO            Cisco Systems, Inc.             2.24%        15.81%                      Technology
SNY             Sanofi American Depositary Sh   1.86%        8.93%      France           Pharma
FB              Facebook, Inc.                  1.85%        64.67%                      Technology
JMHLY           Jardine Matheson                1.33%        19.37%     Hong Kong        Financial
IEMG            Ishares Core Msci Emerging Ma   1.18%        6.51%      Emerging Mkt     Emerging Mkt ETF
FANUY           Fanuc Corp                      1.12%        46.09%     Japan            Technology
BAC             Bank Of America Corporation     1.09%        3.35%                       Financial
DHR             Danaher Corporation             1.09%        36.07%                      Technology
ABBN.VX         Abb Ltd N                       1.07%        13.85%     Switzerland      Industrial
SAFRY           Safran                          1.05%        1.51%      France           Industrial
DANOY           Danone                          1.01%        2.36%      France           Consumer
ECH             Ishares Msci Chile Capped Inv   0.97%        -5.29%     Emerging Mkt     Emerging Mkt ETF
SFTBY           Softbank Group Co               0.89%        45.06%     Japan            Technology
SVNDY           Seven & I Holdings              0.70%        11.33%     Japan            Consumer
FTV             Fortive Corporation             0.41%        67.98%                      Technology
SBGSY           Schneider Electric              0.38%        33.51%     France           Industrial
RCL             Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.    0.28%       311.39%                      Consumer
NCM.AX          Newcrest Fpo                    0.24%       136.64%     Australia        Material
FYRTY           Familymart Uny Hld              0.17%        59.61%     Japan            Consumer
CCL             Carnival Corporation            0.14%        22.21%                      Consumer
SJM             J.M. Smucker Company (The) Ne   0.06%       426.14%                      Consumer
NAB.AX          Nat. Bank Fpo                   0.04%       -10.99%     Australia        Financial
ADEN.VX         Adecco N                        0.03%        29.64%     Switzerland      Industrial

SECTOR                                                  NATIONALITY
Technology                             38.63%           United States              42.56%
Financial                              18.24%           Switzerland                13.60%
Material                               17.97%           Australia                  11.50%
Consumer                                8.41%           England                     6.50%
Pharma                                  8.32%           China                       6.14%
Emerging Mkt ETF                        5.90%           Emerging Mkt ETF            5.90%
Industrial                              2.53%           Japan                       5.49%
                                                        France                      4.30%
                                                        Spain                       2.67%
                                                        Hong Kong                   1.33%

Nice one Jeff - that’s a good looking portfolio.

A few rather immediate and random comments…

  1. If you are really driven by AI and robotic automation you could consider a couple of ETFs e.g. ROBO.
  2. Hong Kong market is still under valued but in a strong uptrend - I hold my Tencent plus a bunch of other China stocks over there. You might want to consider that.
  3. The only holding I would feel strongly against is IBM. It’s a great brand and a great corporation but I don’t see the growth prospects
  4. Pharma - I notice your Pharma sector is quite old school. Admittedly they are the current winners - Roche, Novartis, Sanofi etc but with the exception of Roche’s Genentech there isn’t much biotech in there or new growth plays
  5. Smucker - the jam company? 400%+ wow
  6. I’m not one to talk as I have a lot of holdings between 0.5-1% of my port but you seem to have a tail of miniscule positions that are never going to move the needle
  7. You have Shell, BHP and Rio - that’s a lot of exposure to either an oil price rebound or a cyclical industry or a potentially facing disruption depending on your point of view
  8. Your financial holdings are interesting. Potentially beneficiaries of a rising interest rate environment but I think I read that regional financial plays were a better opportunity than the national/international players
  9. Do you really want RCL and CCL? I would go for one or the other. If you wanted a second I would go for a smaller rising star to go alongside a big boy.
  10. Schneider Electric is French? I would have put good money on them being German.

BTW good for you on sector AND geographic diversification!



Thanks for your comments Ant

I figure (as much as anything else to make sure I think about each comment) it’s worth addressing each of your comments:

  1. Great idea to pick up ROBO (after I get the chance to peek under the hood), or alternatively to cherry pick from its positions

  2. Again, a good idea to buy direct on HK exchange after tracking relative costs/values of raw vs ADR

  3. IBM is mainly a play on Watson (AI thing again). One day, before the cows come home, maybe :slight_smile:

  4. Good point. These are the left-overs from a previously more diversified grouping, but Bio is worth adding (probably as an ETF because it’s such a crap shoot to pick the winners)

  5. That’s there as an object lesson that I have to stare at each day. It is the residual of a dividend payment (DRIP) which came in after a position was sold (which accounts for its relatively small size). I’ve kept it to teach me that I wasn’t as smart as I thought when I sold the position.

  6. See #5 (above) and #9 (below) as rational for some small positions. Also, some of the foreign small positions, were tentative purchases but, in aggregate, create a single “position” (call it a mini-ETF). Also, since there is no scale to the portfolio, I might as well state that, all but the smallest positions, are still worth a buck or two.

  7. I’ve held BHP/RIO for quite a while. Sooner or later, people have to start making “stuff” again out of “things” that come out of the ground. I avoided VALE because of perceived political issues, but may pick up the Brazilian ETF as I think things may have calmed down. I’m heading down there in February and will decide. The Shell is a very recent acquisition (couple of months IIRC). I noticed that its books were not as bad as people thought, it was paying a hell of a yield (in dividends), and I guess I got lucky for a change.

  8. Good idea to look into regionals (any ideas are appreciated :-). I did well on Australian banks for az while. The Santander position is a residual of a larger one. I figured that it was being treated like a Spanish bank (it is), even though only around 15% of its business is there. One of those asymmetric punishment things. I got in too early and the position was under water for a while, but is doing OK nowadays (and the yield based on original acquisition price is generous).

  9. Both RCL and CCL (and NCL) award significant on-board-credit (to cover expenses of all sorts) to stockholders who take any of their ships. We are currently traveling 6-10 months a year (where many of the stock ideas come from) and while only a fraction is on ships (mainly to get from point A to point B around the world), these positions have been very profitable beyond what’s shown here.

  10. Schneider Electric (yup, it’s a French company) is best known in the US as the owner of the APC line of computer battery backup systems. It and ABB are vestiges of a group of electrical equipment manufacturers (which at one point also included Emerson, Eaton, GE, Seimen and Phillip) which I had assembled when I thought the US had no choice but to beef up its electrical grid. I still think that it will be a requirement if electric cars become “all the rage”, but I got bored of waiting. Similarly, Nestle and Danone are vestiges of a theme that bottled water will be a growth industry world-wide and the grouping used to include Coke and Pepsi. I still think the idea is valid, but I got a bit bored waiting, picked up my chips and bet on other numbers.

As a student of relative currency valuations and of how they tend to reflect on equity prices, things are fairly stable right now. Interestingly, the Swiss market has gone up, despite a rise in the Swiss Franc and the Aussie market has stagnated despite the currency being a bit low. The US equity market still drives world share prices, but I’m wondering if, the next time we plunge, the Chinese will not attempt to fill the vacuum - in the fashion that they are now filling our shoes in international trade agreements and foreign aid to emerging nations. Their Silk Road project, their driving of the production of electrical cars, their penetration into the high-speed train field and many other signs indicate that it is likely that the RMB will, within the next few years, become an accepted trading currency - forcing it to appreciate. China, I assume, is currently turning the ship so that this will not trash a dependence on an export economy. As all currency valuations are relative (gold being non-issue), this would favor RMB oriented investments. Incidentally, my holding of Jardine Matheson, while listed in Hong Kong, has massive investments in China as well and was my first dip of a toe into those waters (I figured, at the time, that they knew more about investing in China than I did. They’ve underperformed a bit, but still have done OK for a security blanket).

Thanks again for making me think this mess through :slight_smile:


Last November, when I stumbled across this board, I posted my portfolio.  I admit it took holding my nose,
squeezing my eyes shut and trying to understand a type of stock evaluation which went against every fiber
of my soul.  Well, I figured the only way to learn how to swim is to jump off a bridge, so I drank some 
Kool-Aid and put together a group of stocks based on the discussions here.

This presented a philosophical problem as I had just decided to divest a chunk of my portfolio (about 25% of it) based on
a combination of valuation and timing issues.  So I did both.  This is now forcing me to re-evaluate the
remainder of my old portfolio - a task which is still underway.

Today's activity included selling my position in ANET (for a profit) and picking up MU (thanks Ant).

Contrary to most Americans, I am a firm believer in currency diversification, which my portfolio reflects.

I have separate the sections into nationalities for ease of visualization.  I have also separated out a 
number of "vulnerable" shares which are currently on the chopping block.

EU and UK (European) shares make up about 19% of total portfolio

Swiss shares (separate because of currency diversity) make up about 15% of portfolio

Asian and emerging market shares make up about 18% of the total portfolio

Australian shares (mostly miners) make up about 16% of portfolio

US shares make up about 32% of total portfolio - of which about 1/4 are "Saul type".

OK, look - at least I'm getting there bit by bit :-)

(Note:  I've changed location of profit/loss column for ease of presentation)

        Company                              % Gain/Loss                        % of porNotes:

BHP.AX  Bhp Blt Fpo                            15.33%        Australia             6.49%
NAB.AX  Nat. Bank Fpo                         -19.07%        Australia             0.03%
NCM.AX  Newcrest Fpo                          104.40%        Australia             0.19%
RIO.AX  Rio Tinto Fpo                          19.05%        Australia             9.28%
                                                                                        Total Aussie            15.99%
ABBN.VX Abb Ltd N                               5.30%        Switzerland           1.20%
ADEN.VX Adecco N                                5.79%        Switzerland           0.03%
NESN.VX Nestle N                               13.86%        Switzerland           6.65%
NOVN.VX Novartis N                             -2.43%        Switzerland           4.28%
ROG.VX  Roche Gs                              -14.17%        Switzerland           2.69%
                                                                                        Total Swiss             14.85%
AYX     Alteryx, Inc. Class A                  -2.06%                              1.20%
MU      Micron Technology, Inc.                 0.06%                              1.55%
NKTR    Nektar Therapeutics                    -1.87%                              0.59%
NTNX    Nutanix, Inc.                          -3.70%                              0.63%
NVDA    Nvidia Corporation                      8.24%                              0.62%
OKTA    Okta, Inc.                             15.49%                              0.79%
PSTG    Pure Storage, Inc. Class A             -4.94%                              0.52%
PVTL    Pivotal Software, Inc. Class A         -7.50%                              0.44%
SHOP    Shopify Inc. Class A Subordinat        21.81%                              0.71%
SQ      Square, Inc. Class A                   20.14%                              0.56%
TWLO    Twilio Inc. Class A                    36.07%                              0.53%Blended profit (Saul s   5.03%
                                                                                        Total Saul's Board Ins   8.14%
SMG     Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (The         2.03%                              2.14%Marajuana play
DHR     Danaher Corporation                    46.71%                              1.42%
FTV     Fortive Corporation                    74.77%                              0.52%
FB      Facebook, Inc.                         12.29%                              4.57%
GOOG    Alphabet Inc.                          13.93%                             13.21%
                                                                                        US growtth plays        21.85%
SJM     J.M. Smucker Company (The) New        413.49%                              0.07%
BAM     Brookfield Asset Management Inc        -2.71%                              1.48%
CCL     Carnival Corporation                   15.88%                              0.16%
NCLH    Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings          0.11%                              0.13%
RCL     Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.          256.96%                              0.30%
                                                                                        Vulnerable US            2.13%
BP      Bp P.L.C.                               8.68%        England               2.19%
RDS-A   Royal Dutch Shell Plc Royal Dut        23.47%        England               8.53%
SLB     Schlumberger N.V.                      -2.01%        France                1.68%
SAFRY   Safran                                 16.80%        France                1.46%
SAN     Banco Santander, S.A. Sponsored        -0.74%        Spain                 2.70%
SBGSY   Schneider Electric                     41.65%        France                0.48%
SNY     Sanofi American Depositary Shar        -9.26%        France                1.87%
                                                                                        Europe                  18.91%
FANUY   Fanuc Corp                             25.27%        Japan                 1.16%
FYRTY   Familymart Uny Hld                    171.91%        Japan                 0.36%
OMRNY   Omron Corp                            103.19%        Japan                 2.68%
SFTBY   Softbank Group Co                      20.89%        Japan                 0.89%
SVNDY   Seven & I Holdings                     23.04%        Japan                 0.94%
                                                                                        Japan                    6.02%
JMHLY   Jardine Matheson                       19.64%        Hong Kong             1.61%
BABA    Alibaba Group Holding Limited A         0.20%        China                 0.98%
BIDU    Baidu, Inc. - American Deposita        -5.43%        China                 0.60%
IQ      Iqiyi, Inc.                             5.17%        China                 0.56%
TCEHY   Tencent Hldgs Ltd                      24.08%        China                 2.57%
                                                                                        China                    6.32%
IEMG    Ishares Core Msci Emerging Mark         2.45%        Emerging Mkt          1.37%
VWO     Vanguard Ftse Emerging Markets          4.10%        Emerging Mkt          4.41%
                                                                                        Misc. Emerging Mkt       5.78%

I notice that your cash holdings or bond like instruments are not listed as a percentage anywhere. That would give a fuller idea of your allocations. How much cash do you keep on the sidelines for investment opportunities, for example, plus living needs.

Lucky Dog

In general, the fixed income stuff has been individual bonds purchased during the financial crisis and with a ten year +/- maturity date, with the assumption that the financial disruption would be a decade long event. Most of these have recently matured or are due to mature within the next year or two.

With the exception of Chinese RMB instruments, foreign cash positions in AUD and CHF have been either converted to equity positions in their respective markets (shown above) or to USD with the expectation that USD will rise with higher interest rates.

Cash position has also increased as total (nominal) exposure to US equities has been reduced (though “Saul type” exposure has been added to compensate for the expected growth loss.

Liquid cash (USD) in bank accounts is now earning 2% interest and I expect that to increase over the coming year.

My personal philosophy is that cash is an asset. It has different properties than stocks and bonds, but keeping money in cash is an investment position, rather than “uninvested” funds to be deployed on “real” investments. Exposure to equities is now at about 20% of total assets, so yes, I am ready to deploy more should investment opportunities arise.

Why so small an investment in stocks at this point? Well, my expectation (right or wrong) is that we are heading for a noticeable recession about two years from now. Since these things are hard to predict, I am beginning to prepare early (and, of course the next recession could be ten years from now, so I’m still in the game). Interest rates will be both the signal and form part of the opportunity.

Fortunately, “economies of scale” still allow us to travel 6-10 months a year during retirement while still increasing our assets each year. I have, for a number of decades, been “pretty lucky” when it came to moving money between currencies to take advantage of expected shifts in ratios, while maintaining diversity (and a sense of personal paranoia:-). The “downside” is, while my “visualization” of net worth is still USD biased, I am far more aware than most Americans that “net worth” trajectories are very dependent on the currency filter you are looking through when you take the measurement.

That said, stocks have always interested me more than other investments (and even allow me to intermix my passion for currency biases), so despite my desire to arrange things around a few index funds for the benefit of my wife being able to handle things if I kick the bucket, I suspect I’ll always try to beat the averages by playing with individual issues.