What else is there to do at the end of the year other than round up the most popular articles of the last 12 months? So that’s exactly what I’ll do here with a stroll through the topics that really got some attention.
1. When is a good time to invest in the stock market? – The eternal question. The answer is when it’s cheap… but the trick is to know when it’s cheap.
2. The shocking truth about growth investors – Okay, perhaps the truth really isn’t that shocking, but for some value investors it is. But it shouldn’t be. Warren Buffett has been a growth investor for 30 years at least.
3. How to find the best high yield shares – With a sideways market which doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, dividend income, rather than capital gains, is what more and more investors are after. This how-to article provides some insights.
4. Is it time to sell Tesco? – This was one of the great debates of 2012 for UK value investors. When Tesco tanked by 15% in a few days, was Buffett right when he bought more, or was Woodford right when he sold the lot?
5. Are Marks and Spencer shares good value? – The other high street favourite and long-term under-performer (both in business and investment terms). Although market movements are random, you’ll certainly swing the odds in your favour by picking shares that are good value.
6. Twelve for 2012 – A selection of 12 stocks for 2012 from last year, as part of a mini-competition started by an online friend. How did they do? A virtual cash portfolio of £12,000, ignoring trading costs and including dividends, is valued at £14,385 today. That’s a gain of 19.9%. Dividends in the year totalled £698, which is a yield of 5.8% on the starting capital. I think that’s a pretty decent result and quite similar to what happened with the UK Value Investor model portfolio, because many of the holdings were the same.
7. HSBC, A bank worth investing in? – Everybody loves to hate banks, but four years after the crisis began, many investors are looking for banking bargains. With HSBC emerging relatively unscathed, is this the place to look?
8. Three ways to profit from bear markets – Bear markets are a fact of life; more so in recent years than usual. So if we can’t escape them, how can we use them to our advantage?
9. Is there a bubble in dividend growth shares? – Dividend growth shares are at the core of my strategy, but their very popularity has led to some describing this as a “crowded trade”. Is the dividend growth party over, or do you just need to be selective?
10. The four drivers of long-term equity returns – And last but not least, this article lays the foundation upon which all sensible investing strategies are laid. If you don’t know where your returns are coming from, how do you know what to look for in an investment?
Finally, to sign off 2012 I’d like to say thanks to those who read my articles and lived to tell the tale, and of course thanks to those that subscribed to my newsletter in the very early days and helped to get it off the ground. I think 2013 and beyond is where things might start to get really interesting…