Investment performance review for 2014

Investment strategy

Well that’s another year in the bag, and not a particularly good one either. The FTSE All-Share produced a total return of about 2.7% while total earnings and dividends from FTSE 100 companies barely changed at all from 2013. So that’s the context within which my own modest investment efforts have been applied, and as […]

5 Investment lessons for 2015 and beyond

ROI - return on investment

2014 has been a bit of a damp squib for most UK investors. The FTSE 100 fell from 6,750 to around 6,600, aggregate large-cap earnings declined while dividends in total remained more or less unchanged. About the only thing that increased dramatically was volatility, with near vertical declines and recoveries in October and December. While […]

Value traps – 18 Questions to help you avoid them

Market Crash

As value investors we’re looking for “cheap” shares that are unpopular almost by definition. What we don’t want though are “value traps”, shares that are unpopular because the company is heading into permanent decline, or where a crisis is about to explode. Instead what we want are cheap shares from companies that will continue to […]

My new investment spreadsheet


Recently I’ve made a few changes to my investment strategy and those changes are now reflected in this investment spreadsheet, which you can download and use if you so wish (and at your own risk). These changes have been made in line with my commitment to a Kaizen approach to investing, i.e. continuous small improvements. The changes […]

[Investment review] Imperial Tobacco returns a stress free 27.8% in just under 2 years

Imperial Tobacco share price performance 2014 12

Imperial Tobacco is the epitome of a defensive company. It generates a steady flow of cash from millions of loyal customers who spend small amounts of their income on the company’s products every day, regardless of the state of the economic. The result for shareholders has been steady and progressive but also relatively rapid dividend […]

Measuring leverage in banks, insurance companies and non-financial companies


Companies use leverage because it can boost earnings, and that’s a good thing. But leverage is also bad because it increases the volatility of earnings and increases the risk of bad things happening such as rights issues, dividend cuts and bankruptcy. The trick is to find companies with the “right” amount of leverage given your […]

Taking account of return on capital employed

Investment Analysis

The return generated by the capital employed within a business can be a useful guide to its competitive strengths, and whether the company’s management are chiefly interested in enriching themselves or shareholders. Return on capital employed in a competitive market Picture the following scenario: You decide to set up a company which will run a […]