The first month of the new year is over and what a month it has been, as stocks have been dropping ever since January started. A potential reason is the expected rate hikes that will lead to lower discount rates. As my portfolio is focused on stable companies with a lower valuation the drop wasn't as steep. Nevertheless, the returns were still negative. Due to the expected rate hikes, I decided to close two positions, which I think will do a lot worse in a higher rate environment. The other position that I sold was due to valuation concerns.
For the people that have not read my previous articles: I am a 24-year-old investor from the Netherlands who is trying to start early so that I will have the option to retire early or at least earlier (the current retirement age is 67 in NL and is trending upwards). If you are interested in previous updates on my portfolio, you can find them here:
January felt like a rollercoaster in terms of stock returns. There were days my portfolio was up 3% and days I was down 3%. At the end of the month, I was down approximately 3.6% in USD, which was better than the S&P 500. I think that this was mainly due to the repositioning that I started in November. I am still working on this as I think it is important to focus on higher conviction stocks in times of volatility. This does not mean that I do not add new stocks if I think the risk/reward is skewed favorably.
I expect the market to continue its volatile path driven by the rate hikes and this also made me slightly adjust my strategy going forward. I no longer accept dividend freezes by European companies for my DGI stocks, require a maximum debt/equity of 1, and will look at the earnings quality over the past 10 years for my core holdings, instead of 5 years. Additionally, I will look at the beta of the companies that I am interested in. In my investment group, we have discussed the low beta anomaly. Research has shown that companies with a low beta tend to have higher returns than high volatility stocks. Due to the volatility of the market and the subsequent repositioning, I ended with 10 buys and 3 sells. As we are in the middle of earnings season I will go through all annual reports and close more positions if deemed necessary.
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3rd-4th of January:
Prudential Financial (PRU) - Bought 2 shares for $110.29 each: I bought shares in Prudential Financial as the company has looked very strong over the past few years and has also grown its dividend very rapidly making it an attractive investment. Unfortunately, the dividend increases have slowed down over the past few years and this is something that I monitor, but I currently see no problems as the company's chowder rule is still above 12. I am also not concerned about the company's valuation as the company is trading around my estimated fair value (which I currently estimate around $108.30). Based on the above and the fact that it was one of my smaller positions I decided to pull the trigger.
THG PLC (OTCPK:THGHY) - Bought 74 shares for GBP 2.26 each: A company that I have a love/hate relation with. The company went public in 2021 and the company's stock price rose rapidly. However, after analysts started to doubt the company's Ingenuity division the stock started to go down. In order to reverse this trend, the company decided to hold a meeting with investors and analysts, and on the day of the presentation the company's shares sold off by 1/3rd. Since then a lot has happened and questions regarding the company's governance structure and business model remain (for a more in-depth article you can look here). Nevertheless, the company has delivered what it promised in terms of revenue and growth when going public and it is now selling at almost 1/6th of the price it was trading for at the time of its IPO. That is why I decided to add to the position and to quote Benjamin Graham:
The intelligent investor realizes that stocks become more risky, not less, as their prices rise-and less risky, not more, as their prices fall.
20th - 21st of January
AvalonBay Communities (AVB) - Sold 4 shares for $247.22: After considering everything including the current macro environment and the company's valuation I decided to sell my shares in AvalonBay. I like AvalonBay as the company has a strong development platform and is making strategic moves into some higher-growth markets such as Texas. However, the company did not raise its dividend last year and is also trading at a premium to its average FFO (approximately 28 vs. an average of 22). Based on this information, I think that the risk/reward ratio is currently not in favor of investors. Therefore, I decided to look for opportunities that had a better risk/reward ratio. What is an advantage for me, compared to US investors, is that the Netherlands does not have a capital gains tax. Thus, I did not have to hold on to my shares to prevent a tax event.
Armada Hoffler (AHH) - Bought 69.5479 shares for $14.21
Armada Hoffler is a new addition to my portfolio and is a replacement for AvalonBay. After reading several articles about the company and diving into the company's 10-K and 10-Qs, I started my position. The main reason I like the company is that it is trading at a discount (P/AFFO of approximately 15, estimated FV of $18.86) to some other multifamily REITs. I know that it isn't a pure-play on the sector, as it also owns retail and office properties. However, most of the properties are mixed-use and that makes its office and retail properties more interesting, as people can live and shop at the same building they are living in. Two other things that I like about the company are its development arm (in times of inflation a development arm can give the company an edge against competitors) and the strong ties with local governments such as the municipality of Virginia Beach. Taking all of this into consideration, I think the company is poised to do well in the future.
CBOE Global (CBOE) - Bought 1.9 shares for $121.11 each
CBOE Global is one of my highest conviction buys right now. The company is making good strategic moves such as the acquisition of ErisX (crypto spot and derivatives market) and the acquisition of BIDS (off-exchange market). Additionally, the increase in options trading works in the company's favor. I laid out my full case in an article that you can find here. Another thing that works in the company's favor is its valuation. Based on the last 10-K and 10-Qs, and the dividend yield theory my price target for CBOE is $175.85. Bear in mind that I will need to update the model once they announce earnings in February.
Intel Corporation (INTC) - Bought 4.3 shares for $52.89 each
Intel is a company that you either love or hate. The company has underperformed over the past few years and it shows in its multiple valuations vs competitors. Nevertheless, the new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, has changed the direction of the company. The company has made its first moves into its foundry strategy and the products are also looking a lot better than under the previous CEO. However, at the moment it is still unclear if he is able to turn the company around. If he would be able to steer the company in the right direction, the market will most likely rerate INTC's stock higher. If he is unable to do that, there is little downward risk as the company already trades at a P/E of approximately 13.8, while competitors trade at much higher P/Es. Therefore, I view this position as a good risk/reward.
26th - 28th of January
Monster (MNST) - Sell 5.65 shares for $84.50 each
Monster Beverage was a relatively recent addition to my portfolio and I absolutely love the company's products and the company keeps adding new flavors to satisfy and expand its customer base. However, the market for energy drinks is becoming more and more competitive (due to newer entrants such as Bang and Celsius (CELH)) and this will likely have a negative effect on margins in the future. Additionally, the company is overvalued based on my DCF calculations, while trading slightly below its mean P/E and EV/EBITDA over the past 5 years. If we take into account that interest rates (and discount rates) will rise in the near future, I see more downside than upside and thus I sold my shares.
CVS Health (CVS) - Bought 2.3 shares for $104.35 each
Part of the money that I received from the sale of my Monster shares, I decided to put in CVS Health. CVS Health is a position that I started a few years ago after it dropped significantly due to the Aetna acquisition. At the time I thought that the synergies between the two companies would be beneficial for shareholders and would turn CVS Health into a healthcare behemoth. Recently, the company announced that it reached its leverage ratio 1 year early and that it would resume dividend increases. This has led to an increase in its share price, but I still see room to grow given the complimentary offering of all their divisions. From a valuation point of view, I see a lot of upside and my fair value for CVS is around $171.70. This is based on a higher multiple (EV/EBITDA of 11) and the expected revenue growth over the coming 5 years.
Associated British Foods (OTCPK:ASBFY) - Bought 9 shares for GBP 19.81 each
The remaining part of the money of the Monster sale went into Associated British Foods. Associated British Foods is a company that I think will do well in times of high inflation, something that we are experiencing right now. The company owns an agriculture business, a sugar business, and the Primark brand, among other things. Given the fact that inflation increases the price of commodities, the price of sugar will most likely increase and this will be positive for the company's revenue. The agriculture business, on the other hand, is more defensive and the products the company sells, such as animal feed and nutrition products, are inelastic as they are necessary for farmers to grow their animals. The Primark business is also positioned well as higher inflation leads to lower disposable income. As many people still want to buy new clothes, Primark's cheap clothing should do well.
New Work SE (OTCPK:XINXF) - Sold 4 shares for $187.40 each
New Work SE is a company that is unknown to many American investors and Seeking Alpha visitors. The company focuses on software for the human resource industry, owns the equivalent of LinkedIn in the DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) region, owns an event business and multiple recruitment platforms. The reason I sold the position is that the company is expected to grow revenue between 5-15% in the coming years and it trades at a PE of 30. The aforementioned information in combination with a low float, increasing competition from LinkedIn, and the focus on higher conviction names made me close the position.
Ahold Delhaize (OTCQX:ADRNY) - Bought 13 shares for €28.71 each
Ahold Delhaize is a grocery store operator headquartered in the Netherlands. The company owns multiple brands such as Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, Delhaize in Belgium, and Stop & Shop in the US. The majority of profits come from the US but the company reports its results in Euro. Lately, the dollar has appreciated against the euro and this will have a positive effect on the company's Q4 and FY results. Another thing that should be advantageous to shareholders is the IPO of Bol.com, an established online platform, and webshop (comparable to Amazon, but better customer service and focus on the Benelux), which is planned for mid-2022. If Bol.com would get a multiple similar to Zalando it would trade for approximately €5-€6 billion. At the moment there are approximately 1 billion shares of Ahold outstanding and the valuation of €5-€6 billion would thus add €5-€6 per share. Given the catalysts mentioned above, I added to my position.
L3Harris (LHX) - Bought 1.8641 shares for $222.82 each
L3Harris is a company that is active in the defense/tech sector. The company focuses on communication and tech solutions for the military and in my opinion, is well-positioned to capture more market given the increasing importance that tech could play in a war. The fact that the defense bill passed the senate ($768 billion) in the US is another positive for the company. Additionally, the unrest in Ukraine might lead to an increase in the defense bill and this could be advantageous for the company. Therefore, I decided to add to my position in L3Harris.
Intel Corporation (INTC) - Bought 5 shares for $47.90 each
The addition of more shares was due to the drop after the earnings report. More details have been provided above.
Interactive Brokers (IBKR) - Received 0.4219 shares
As I mentioned in previous updates, I switched to Interactive Brokers through a referral link. This means that I receive free shares whenever I put money in my account. I have to hold these for a certain time but I am not planning to add money to this position at the moment.
Effect on dividends (pre-tax)
GBP 167.59 ($227.38)
New Work SE
Associated British Foods
GBP 178.29 ($242.02)
GBP 3.65 (incl. Special dividend) ($4.95)
During the month of January, I received total dividends of $70.59 which was lower than the dividend I received during January of 2021. The main reason was that in 2021 there was a special dividend of Aroundtown.
|Company||Dividend pre-tax 2021||Dividend pre-tax 2022||Difference|
|SEI Investments (SEIC)||$2.22||$0||-$2.22|
|VICI Properties (VICI)||$4.62||$19.24||$14.62|
|Medical Properties Trust (MPW)||$5.40||$0||-$5.40|
|Altria Group (MO)||$15.48||$18.90||$3.42|
|W.P. Carey (WPC)||$12.55||$0||-$12.55|
|Cisco Systems (CSCO)||$4.32||$0||-$4.32|
|*Aroundtown (OTCPK:AANNF)||€24.36 ($27.87)||€0||-€24.36 ($27.87)|
|Boston Properties (BXP)||$7.84||$0||-$7.84|
|Brookfield Asset Management (BAM)||$0||$2.21||$2.21|
|*Associated British Foods||GBP 0||GBP 11.66 ($15.68)||GBP 11.66 ($15.68)|
* Is or includes a special dividend
With my January purchases, I added approximately $62.19 in pre-tax dividends. Additionally, Intel decided to raise its dividend. When taking into account the current exchange rate my new forward dividend yield is approximately €798 ($913.35) after tax.
Increase in dividend quarterly
Dividend per share pre-raise
Dividend per share post-raise
A slight change in the sector division of my portfolio compared to last month. There is a 2% difference in IT in my portfolio. The main reason for this is that I sold my position in New Work SE. Nonetheless, I would like to increase my holdings in tech again. However, it has to be at the right price, and given the current environment with high inflation and rising rates, I am very strict in what I want to pay for a company. This makes it harder to add to the IT sector as many companies are still at the beginning of their journey, meaning that their larger cash flows are discounted at a higher rate and the larger, more established companies are trading near or at all-time highs.
Compared to last month we see an increase in financials and healthcare. In my opinion, the market will go through severe volatility in 2022, partly driven by the increase in rates. The increase in rates will be good for financials as they will profit from an increase in rates, while healthcare companies are in general strong defensive picks. If we have a prolonged bear market investors will flee into safer assets and sectors and healthcare is one of those.
|Company||Qty Held||Portfolio %|
|Reinsurance Group of America (RGA)||15||4.42%|
|Fresenius&CO KGAA (OTCPK:FSNUF)||33||3.54%|
|DIC Asset AG (OTCPK:DDCCF)||78||3.49%|
|Power REIT (PW)||21||3.41%|
|TJ Maxx (TJX)||16||3.00%|
|Associated British Foods||43||2.96%|
|Ping An Insurance (OTCPK:PNGAY)||59||2.42%|
|Brookfield Asset Management||17||2.37%|
|Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR-USD)||680||0.40%|
In the coming month, I am keeping my eyes open for companies in the IT sector as well as companies with relatively low beta and defensive stocks. I will also look to add to my own positions and I am especially looking into the following positions:
Reinsurance Group of America:
Reinsurance Group of America is a company that has been heavily influenced by the pandemic. At the start of the pandemic the company dropped hard and still hasn't made up the lost ground. In the past quarter, the delta variant still had a huge influence on the company's result. However, the Omicron variant isn't as deadly as its predecessor and this should work in the company's favor. Furthermore, the company is trading at a steep discount to its book value, as well as its 5-year average dividend yield. Therefore, I wouldn't mind adding to the company.
As I mentioned before L3Harris is an industrial/tech company that is active in the defense sector. After publishing FY 21 and Q4 results the stock dipped significantly. This was mainly driven by the guidance that management provided. Nevertheless, I expect the company to do better, especially if the stand-off with Russia escalates. If this does not happen, it might take a bit longer to recover. Nonetheless, given the nature of the business and the markets it is active in, I think that the company has a bright future. My estimated fair value based on the dividend yield theory and a DCF based on the previous 10K and 10Qs was $229.83.
People that regularly read my portfolio update know that Linkfire is a position that I opened last year. The company is the largest provider of smart links, which are links that you can find on social media pages of artists to redirect you to their latest hit (+platform of your choice), tickets for their next tour, and other things. Recently it acquired its largest competitor SmartURL the pioneer of smart links. Before the acquisition, the company had a market share of approximately 70% and this is only expected to grow in the near future. Additionally, with the acquisition of SmartURL the company increases its strength in the US as SmartURL has deals with artists such as Britney Spears and Toto. The company is currently still unprofitable as it has been focusing on its growth. However, it expects to be EBITDA profitable in 2023. My estimated fair value (based on the limited data available) is 16.8 SEK per share and is based on an EV/EBITDA exit multiple of 10.
Alibaba is one of the value picks in my portfolio. The company has had its fair share of problems over the past year. This was mainly related to the new rules and regulations implemented by the Chinese government. Even though this doesn't necessarily stop in the future, I expect the Chinese government to remain rational. If it decides to hurt the country's business environment even further then the FDI (foreign direct investment) inflows will fall. At the moment the country is receiving the highest amount of FDI inflows in the world. Therefore, it is not in the country's best interest to completely destroy the business environment. This skews the risk/reward slightly in the favor of investors and means you can buy a company that is growing revenue above 20% a year but is trading at an NTM PE of 13 (approximately half of the last 5 years).
CoreCard is one of the small caps that I own. What I like about the company is that the CEO is putting quality and profitability over the revenue growth rate. This should be a way more sustainable way of doing business as this lowers the company's churn rate. Unfortunately, this also means that revenue growth rates are capped between 20-30%. In 2021 the company heavily invested in its infrastructure to be able to add new (large) customers. This might lead to higher revenue growth rates during 2022. However, the company expects large customers to take a few years:
We've always and we continue to have conversations with some very large customers, but that's over the long term.
This doesn't mean that they won't add new customers as they were in talks with some smaller customers such as neo banks and crypto companies:
So we're dealing primarily with right now I'm going to call them the new guys in FinTech. Crypto is all new. So several new crypto guys. We're dealing with some neo banks that want to offer some creative things.
Nevertheless, I think right now is a good time to add to the company as an announcement of a big client (either in 2022 or beyond) might increase the price rapidly, as was seen when it became the issuer-processor of the Goldman Sachs (GS) Apple (AAPL) card.
Another company that is facing a tough environment is Altria. The company has been active for a long time and has faced its fair share of political hurdles. The company was dealt a blow last year with the ban of Iqos imports in 2021. The company's move into cannabis (through Cronos (CRON)), and vaping (through Juul) haven't paid off yet. Given the fact that there is no clear way forward and that its customer base is either quitting or dying, I am unsure if this is a position that I should keep. On the one hand, the company is able to inflate prices to grow revenue and dividends, but on the other hand, this might not be sustainable in the future. Thus I will do a deep dive in the company's latest 10K and will decide if I keep the shares or will pursue another company/or add an ETF.
Another company that I might sell is Aspire Global. The reason for this is that it is being acquired by Neogames (NGMS). The company has bid 111 SEK per share, shares in the company, or a combination of the two. The deal is expected to close in May and the company's shares are now trading around 108 SEK. Holding on to my shares will give me a guaranteed return of 3 SEK but that is a mere $0.33. As the high inflation rate means that you are basically guaranteed 0 return, I might look into selling the position and try to get higher returns somewhere else.
After the rough start of the year, I am looking at ways to enhance my portfolio and its returns. This could lead to higher transactions in the coming months. Additionally, I will go through all the 10Ks to see if my companies are still performing as expected. I did slightly change my rules as I want my companies to be of better quality, given the current environment.
Dividends were slightly lower than last year, mainly due to the fact that last year included a special dividend by Aroundtown. My forward yield after this month is approximately €798 ($913.35) after tax.
I hope you liked the update about my progress, and I would love to hear your thoughts on my portfolio and what you would like to see in future updates.
This article was written by
Disclosure: I/we have a beneficial long position in the shares of ALL COMPANIES MENTIONED UNDER HOLDINGS either through stock ownership, options, or other derivatives. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.