I received a few emails and comments both in my blog and on my FB wall regarding Yongnam and Marco Polo Marine. In the wake of their dismal results, some are wondering if they should stay invested. Of course, I won't tell people what they should do but I can share with them how I manage my portfolio so that I do not lose sleep over it.
Regular readers and attendees of InvestX Congress a couple of months ago might remember the graphic of a pyramid which I shared. In case you do not remember, it is found in this blog post: Motivations and methods in investing.
Many know that I invest primarily for income and these investments form part of the wider base of the pyramid. It is about investing for a predictable and, ideally, sustainable flow of income. Such investments provide my portfolio with a measure of stability that I desire.
I also invest for income and growth. This is about investing in companies which have the potential to grow and have shown some promise through their track records. On top of this, I like for them to show a commitment to pay dividends. Of course, I said before that both Yongnam and Marco Polo Marine were in this category.
I also invest purely for growth but this is higher up in the pyramid and such investments, without any dividends, should form a smaller portion of my portfolio.
So, for example, I reduced my exposure to Marco Polo Marine as it would probably struggle to pay a dividend now because not all its businesses are doing well but I am still optimistic that the company would see impressive growth if the purchase of the oil rig should work out the way the CEO thinks it should.
Now, what about Yongnam? They announced a bigger loss than expected in its latest results. A question to ask is whether this weakness is enduring or is it temporary? I am inclined to believe that it is temporary. So, I am staying invested.
With Yongnam, it is about securing more projects and, hopefully, those with higher margins. Although I am optimistic that Yongnam will do better in future, in the near term, the thesis for investing in Yongnam for both income and growth has been shaken. So, I might reduce exposure, similar to what I did with my investment in Marco Polo Marine.
Now, some might ask if I would lose money by reducing exposure. I might.
Might? Yes, might, not would.
It is good to remember that in all my investment decisions, it is partly about getting in with a margin of safety. Of course, with trading decisions, it could be quite different.
Also, because I usually invest with an income angle in mind, losses, if any, are less daunting, taking past dividends into consideration.
If I had divested some of my investments when stock prices ran up, then, I could actually end up with a gain even if I were to reduce my remaining long positions at a loss later on. I did this for Yongnam before but, unfortunately, I did not do so for Marco Polo Marine. Why?
Yongnam's share price ran up because of speculation regarding its chances of getting that big job in Myanmar. Marco Polo Marine's share price ran up, I believe, because it was undervalued compared to its peers. So, a partial divestment in Yongnam's case when prices ran up was only reasonable to me but not in Marco Polo Marine's case.
We don't always do well in our investments as conditions change and these changes might throw a spanner or a few in our analyses. However, if we
1. Invest cautiously, always demanding a margin of safety,
2. Take some gains off the table when given the opportunity,
3. Stay invested if the investment still holds promise,
Over time, we won't do too badly.
Finally, it probably pays for some to remember that my investments in Marco Polo Marine and Yongnam are bits of a bigger investment portfolio. They are not my only investments. Remember the pyramid. Know what we are after and our methods should reflect our motivations.
1. Yongnam: DPS of 0.6c.
2. Marco Polo Marine: Reason for weakness.
3. Portfolio review: Unexpectedly eventful.