Jul 272020
 

Stock picking vs index investing

There’s a common belief that attempting to outperform the stock market is futile. A thread on the r/investing subreddit asked if anyone can beat the market. Here are some direct replies from the community:

  • “I know I am statistically extremely unlikely to beat the market, and if I do beat it, it’s through luck, not skill.”
  • “The only way you can really beat the market is to hold a highly concentrated portfolio and hit it big in 1 stock”
  • “As a retail investor, if I beat the market picking individual stocks, it was mostly from luck.”

Even an investopedia.com article suggests that successful stock pickers like Warren Buffett may have just been “exceptionally lucky.” It appears the online investing community is generally against the idea of individual stock picking. This short comment from the forums of RedFlagDeals sums it up well.

But allow me to go against the grain and push back a little. 😎 I believe you can beat the market if you have the right decision making process. 🙂 My net worth today is largely built on my stock picking history.

Internet consensus: Amateur investors can’t beat the market over time. That’s why you should just buy index funds and forget about stock picking.

Me: 

beating the index

12.87% is the annual rate of return on my TFSA portfolio over the last 9.5 years according to TD portfolio statistics. It’s one of my oldest investment accounts. As readers will know I share all my stock holdings publicly for accountability reasons.

It appears the couch potato method of index investing is very popular with netizens. In the subreddit, r/PersonalFinanceCanada even the moderators have admitted that, “the general consensus on PFC is that people should look for low-cost, passive index investments.”

Don’t get me wrong. The Canadian couch potato aggressive portfolio performed quite well over the last 10 years. I’m just saying maybe there are better investment strategies out there. 🙂

Source: https://edrempel.com/outperform/

 

Why index investing isn’t all that passive

Index funds may appear to be passive, but they are actually more actively managed than most realize. This is something the index investing community doesn’t like to admit because it undermines the strategy’s reputation of being objective, hands off, and untainted by human biases.

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Mar 302020
 

This financial crisis appears to be getting worse by the day. The economy is stalled and millions of workers have lost their jobs. 🙁 Did you hear about the man who was fired at a coffee factory? They say he had no filter. 😎 But there is a silver lining here. As the stock market sinks the dividend yields rise. 🙂

Value investing with dividend stocks

Warren Buffett bought 4.3 million shares of Suncor (TSE:SU) last quarter when the stock was trading at roughly $40/share. Today TSE:SU is trading at just $16/share. Buffett is a value investor who only buys profitable companies that have promising growth prospects. Anyone buying SU today would be getting in at a 60% discount compared to what Buffett paid in late 2019. I don’t give stock tips, but I’m just sayin’. 😉

Similar to Buffett I’ve been on the lookout for bargains lately. I purchased many dividend growth stocks throughout this month. In today’s post I will disclose which stocks I bought, why I bought them, and how I have grown my forward dividend income by $7,200 per year. Wowzers! 😀

dividend investing pays off

 

Narrowing down my options

There are thousands of stocks and ETFs out there. So how did I choose? Well first, I determined which type of investment account to use. This will ensure maximum tax savings. I don’t have much contribution room remaining in my TFSA and RRSP. So most of my new purchases will be in a fully taxable account. This means looking at securities that pay eligible dividends which can benefit from the Canadian dividend tax credit.

I personally like to buy and hold companies that consistently increase their dividends over time. These are known as dividend growth stocks.

 

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Jan 022018
 

Hello friends. It’s a new year. 😀 My investment strategy for 2017 was simple; to buy dividend growth stocks and alternative investments. Dividend stocks and alternative assets tend to grow in bull markets but also hold up well in recessions. The plan is to earn respectable returns while reducing risk to the downside. Here are my 2017 results.

Average return on investable assets = 18.9%

Overall I am quite thrilled with this outcome. 🙂 The broad Canadian stock market index (S&P/TSX Composite) returned about 9% in 2017. I remain convinced that a dividend based investment strategy works better than index funds.

Another variable that worked to my advantage is geographical diversification. Most equity markets in foreign countries performed extremely well. For example, the S&P 500 index in the U.S. gained 20%. Holding U.S. and European stocks helped me a lot this year.

The Best of 2017

Liquid’s Top 10 Best performing stocks of the year:

  1. Canopy Growth Corp (WEED) +213%
  2. Match Group Inc (MTCH) +82%
  3. Caterpillar (CAT) +64%
  4. Avigilon Corp (AVO) +63%
  5. Dollarama (DOL) +59%
  6. Amazon.com (AMZN) +58%
  7. Premium Brands Holdings (PBH) +55%
  8. Deere and Co (DE) +55%
  9. Blackberry (BB) +54%
  10. Netflix (NFLX) +53%

The Worst of 2017

Liquid’s Top 10 Worst performing stocks of the year:

  1. Crescent Point Energy (CPG) -45%
  2. High Liner Foods (HLF) -23%
  3. Cineplex (CGX) -22%
  4. Cameco Corp (CCO) -14%
  5. Viacom (VIAB) -10%
  6. Halliburton (HAL) -8%
  7. Keyera Corp (KEY) -7%
  8. Boardwalk REIT (BEI.UN) -7%
  9. Target Corp (TGT) -6%
  10. Goldcorp (G) -5%

We can’t win them all. But as long as we get it right most of the time then everything will work out eventually. 🙂

 

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2017 Investment Breakdown

All returns mentioned below are internal rate of returns (IRR) unless otherwise stated.

TD Portfolio 
Annual return = 16.3%
Net Asset Value = $190K

This includes my entire RRSP portfolio, most of my TFSA and a small cash account all held within TD Direct Investing. The combined return over the last 12 months was 16.28%.

I hold about 15 individual securities in my TD TFSA, and another 30 in my RRSP account. If you are interested to see exactly what they are I’ve listed all the stocks on my portfolio page. 😀

Note: Past performance doesn’t guarantee future results and readers should not take any stocks I buy as recommendations.

 

Interactive Brokers – Non Registered Portfolio
Annual return = 25.3%
Net Asset Value = $158K

This is where I have my margin account. I hold Canadian, U.S. and U.K. securities in here – mostly preferred stocks and dividend stocks due to the preferential tax treatment of their returns. One reason the return is so high in this portfolio is because I am using leverage (borrowing money to invest.)

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Nov 242017
 

For long term investors, earning 5% to 7% annual return (after tax) is a suitable target to aim for. But this is difficult to pull off today. The current expected returns of the financial markets are extremely low by historical standards. Traditional asset classes such as stocks and bonds are generally overvalued now.

Stock Market Expected Return = 3.2%

The Shiller P/E ratio is currently about 31 for the S&P 500 stock market index. This is much higher than the historical average ratio of 16. The Shiller P/E ratio is based on average inflation-adjusted earnings from the previous 10 years.  The inverse of the ratio (1/31) is how much the market is expected to earn for investors going forward.

Bond Market Expected Return = 2.3%

Here are some popular bond ETFs.

  • BMO Aggregate Bond Index ETF (ZAG) – Weighted Average Yield to Maturity = 2.34%
  • Canadian Aggregate Bond Index ETF (VAB) – Weighted Average Yield to Maturity = 2.28%
  • iShares Core Canadian Universe Bond Index ETF (XBB) – Weighted Average Yield to Maturity = 2.35%

As we can see, all their Avg YTMs are below 3%. The 10 year Canadian government bond is paying only 1.9% as of writing this post. 🙁

As a long term investor I don’t see the point of buying a bond that pays less than 2% interest when the Bank of Canada openly declared it wants to erode the Canadian dollar’s value by 2% a year. That effectively creates a projected negative real return on investment, 😮 ouch. This is why I stay away from ETFs like these which primarily hold low yielding government bonds. These funds aren’t necessarily bad investments. I’m just saying they’re not for me. We can find slightly higher yields in U.S. bonds, but not much better.

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May 082017
 

How to Invest in U.S. Infrastructure 

Donald Trump’s policies focus on building infrastructure and prioritizing America first. With the U.S. economy growing stronger than Canada’s, I believe this is a good time to look south of the border for opportunities. Thanks to the Trump rally, the S&P 500 market index in the U.S. is up about 7% year to date. It appears the market could reach even higher by the end of the year. 🙂

One way to invest in a country’s growing infrastructure is to buy ownership in stable, and profitable cement and construction companies! But the concrete business isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. 😄 There is a lot of competition in this space so it’s important to invest smartly. I have done research into several companies such as Martin Marietta Materials (MLM), Vulcan Materials (VMC), and others. But the company I liked most was Summit Materials Inc (NYSE:SUM)

Summit Materials is in the business of cement and small rocks called aggregates used to make roads and buildings. In addition to supplying aggregates to its customers, the company also uses its materials internally to produce ready-mix concrete and asphalt paving mix production. I like the widespread geography that Summit is operating in. It conducts business in over 20 states, including Texas, which borders Mexico. I’m looking forward to that wall being built. 🙂

I guess you can say this company rocks. 😄 Valuation wise SUM is slightly expensive, but is actually fairly valued when compared to its competitors in the market. Over the last year the company earned $0.88 per share. According to analysts, the company is expected to grow its earnings at 10.5% a year over the long run. We can use the Graham Formula which I’ve explained here, to determine the fair market value of this stock.

Doing so will give us a Graham value of $25.96 per share. (V = 0.88 x (8.5 + 2 * 10.5)

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