Author: Richard Beddard

Burberry joins “Future of Fashion” portfolio

In his quest for companies that control their own destinies, Richard discovers luxury fashion brand Burberry, a company whose products he is in no danger of buying. Last time, I promised to investigate one of the shares I found while filtering for vertically integrated companies, companies that control their own destinies because they control many […]

Filtering out the big spenders

Richard invents a new filter that promises to weed out big acquirers in a drive for simplicity he hopes will make investigating his next company easier. Complications tend to keep investors awake at night and wakeful nights are not conducive to long-term investment. You join me today on a quest for simplicity. Keeping it simple […]

The future of holidays portfolio

Richard returns from his holiday and wonders whether he can put the experience to use by investing in holiday companies. First step: Create a portfolio of holiday companies. It is early September, so I am going to take a wild guess and assume you have been on holiday. Hopefully it was a good one. Mine […]

Hidden potential in new division

Richard analyses Bloomsbury Publishing’s segmental report to work out where the profit is coming from. The Harry Potter effect is still evident, but the company is conjuring up another source of profit without recourse to magic. My last article ended on something of a cliffhanger because I had found something out, but I did not […]

Finding the best companies to analyse

A wise man once advised investors to stick to their circle of competence. Richard uses SharePad to keep his eye on the prize, and it leads him to Bloomsbury Publishing… My base filter in SharePad currently returns a total of 596 shares listed in London. It does not do anything clever. It just excludes the […]

The art of the sale

In response to a reader’s request for a sell filter, Richard goes looking for trouble in his portfolio by setting some “curiosity triggers”…. One of the better bits of advice passed between investors is to sell shares when the reasons you bought them no longer hold true. Most of us will have all sorts of […]

How to work out whether a firm is good acquirer

Richard uses a trick from Judges Scientific’s playbook to assess local hero Scientific Digital Imaging. Both companies acquire scientific instrument manufacturers using a “buy and build strategy”. Last month we worked out how to populate Google Maps with SharePad data to find local companies to invest in. Today, we will take the process a stage […]

The Future of Retail portfolio

Rule number one in investing is to buy what you know, but how does that work when what you know is changing day by day? Richard grapples with clothing and fashion retailers, who are themselves grappling with the emergence of the Internet. Just about every type of retailing is going through profound change thanks to […]

Checking the numbers match the story

One thing we should always check is that a company’s long-term performance matches the story it tells us. Churchill China says it is “adding value” to tableware, a horrible bit of jargon that is easily corroborated in SharePad. I received a nasty shock last time I reviewed one of my long-standing investments. Familiarity, I said, […]

Hidden treasure on your doorstep

Finding local businesses listed on the stock market is easy with the help of SharePad and Google Maps. Richard maps the market to find out what’s good in the ‘hood. When I wrote about Portmeirion last time, I promised to review a second “old favourite” in this article. In the meantime, though, I have been […]

Portmeirion: When confidence crumbles

SharePad is not just about discovering new shares, it can help us see shares we are familiar with in a new light. Richard uses it to re-evaluate old favourite Portmeirion and his confidence begins to crumble even before events take a nasty turn… This week, and in a fortnight’s time, we will look at two […]

Bodycote: A stalwart in cyclical clothing

Richard investigates a company that not only walks the walk, it talks the talk. I am not going to lie, even if it means shattering the illusion investors are cool rational calculating machines. I experienced a prolonged period of joy when I started investigating Bodycote. Snared by my Fundsmith filter, the company not only walks […]

RM: Will profit endure?

Richard considers whether the supplier of educational resources and software services can sustain profitability and reignite growth. There’s a good chance, he thinks, which makes RM an intriguing proposition at its current valuation. In my last article, we took a tour through SharePad and RM’s annual report to check its profit was real. RM is […]

RM: Is profit real?

Richard investigates RM, one of the stock market’s great survivors, starting with just one question. It takes him on a twisty trail… Before we get into the numbers, some reasons why RM, a supplier of 50,000 educational products and IT to schools and nurseries and on-screen marking services to exam boards, is worthy of investigation: […]

Moneysupermaaaaaaahhhhhhket

The veteran price comparison company is changing, and maybe for the better. Richard investigates one of the companies that easily met the criteria of his Fundsmith filter. I avoid Price Comparison Websites. The notion we should all be like hamsters in a wheel, swapping insurance policies and energy suppliers every year for cheaper alternatives is […]

Fishing like Fundsmith

Richard builds a Fundsmith filter, taking it from concept to conclusion. The aim: To reduce the “junk” in our watchlists so we are fishing in a better-stocked pool of shares. My editor wonders whether my obsession with Fundsmith Equity Fund is a ‘fatal attraction’ but he has permitted one more article. It would be remiss […]

Performance measurement for pros

Investors tend to judge their portfolios by how much they go up or down in value, typically compared to a benchmark index like the FTSE All-Share, over perhaps a year. Taking a leaf out of Fundsmith Equity’s playbook, Richard thinks he has found a better way. In my last article, I questioned Fundsmith Equity, a […]

Putting performance into perspective

Richard reads Fundsmith Equity Fund’s annual letter to fundholders and suggests a modest improvement that could change your perception of financial history. He also responds to reader’s queries about On The Beach, the company he profiled two weeks ago. If you are a fundholder in Fundsmith Equity Fund, then congratulations. You’ve just received fund manager […]

Starting with the big picture

Richard starts his analysis of fast growing online beach holiday retailer On The Beach with new SharePad views designed to give him the big picture at a glance. Before I start dreaming about holidays, some humble pie. A few weeks ago I ridiculed the idea of using more than three SharePad windows by suggesting they […]

Assessing whether profit is real

On the face of it Ricardo is a great company, but in recent years its earnings have deviated a long way from the cold hard cash that has flowed into the company. That may be changing. Though I don’t normally pay much attention to share prices, a 40% slump in the price of Ricardo values […]

A SharePad for every occasion

Richard takes a break from company analysis and reveals a new layout for news, and reflects on some of the other tweeks he has used this year to make SharePad even easier to use. Season’s greetings! As the New Year approaches even my enthusiasm for digging into financials wanes and I indulge myself – and not […]

Two good companies, but which is better?

Richard takes a first look at Softcat, and he likes what he sees, even in comparison to rival Computacenter, another fine business. Both companies make good money distributing IT, but in Softcat he may have spotted a company with a growth culture. I wrote favourably about Computacenter in October, so I have two good reasons […]

Searching SharePad for something special

Richard Beddard investigates DotDigital in SharePad. The data indicates it has been very prosperous since it floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2011. A surge in investment suggests it intends to keep things that way. The starting point for many of the ideas I discover in SharePad is a basic four stage process that […]

What really makes a great business?

To identify great businesses we must go beyond the numbers and understand what causes them. In this article I revisit 4Imprint, an investment I should have made in 2013, and a business probably still worthy of investment today. Back in May 2013 I wrote excitedly about a company selling promotional products to US companies. 4Imprint’s […]

Evaluating a hot tip

Psst, company XYZ is going great guns, it’s shooting for the moon, get in before it is too late!!! In today’s article, Richard uses SharePad to evaluate Clipper Logistics, a tip he received anonymously on the Internet. Tips passed online are sometimes little more than ramps, invitations to boost the tipster’s wealth by buying shares […]

When dull businesses come good

Stroll into a WH Smith and you might wonder why a shop that sells Sellotape, colouring books and slime (really!) exists today, but the company thrives. Smith’s creeping reinvention is an example to investors seeking to profit from businesses people casually write off because they see no future in them. Perhaps Computacenter is another. The […]

Filtering new issues

New issues have a reputation for delivering poor investment returns. In this article we filter SharePad for companies that may be more seasoned than they look. In my last article, I filtered SharePad for the firms that had been listed longest on the London Stock Exchange. Statistically speaking, the longer an investment has been listed […]

The old ones are the good ones

Exciting news: Aston Martin is readying itself to float on the stock market. Investors should think twice though, before buying the shares. Typically, it is the most seasoned firms that make the best investments. This is how you can find them. The Aston Martin story has many of the hallmarks of a big flotation. The […]

Building a base filter

To demonstrate how to filter in SharePad, we’ll build a base filter that filters out the shares we are least likely to be interested in. Our criteria will be personal, but the filtering technique can be applied to almost any investment style. Establishing your sweet spot To exclude shares we don’t want, we must decide […]

The perils of filtering stocks

This is the second article in the series “From ideas to investments” in which I look at the process of finding and evaluating investment ideas. Fishing for stocks using filtering, or stock screening, is a quick way to create a shortlist of shares that are likely to perform well – but only if we buy […]

How the stock market actually works

Today’s article is the first in a new series called ‘From ideas to investments’ which takes an in-depth look at how to generate investment ideas from fundamental data and develop those ideas into profitable investments. We’ll be looking at the benefits and pitfalls of stock screening and subsequent steps in developing a unique style incorporating […]

When bad companies become good: IG Design

IG Design, formerly International Greetings, is one of my biggest investment mistakes—even though I made a few quid on it. Since I sold my shares in International Greetings—as it was called then—in April 2014, the company’s share price has risen from 71p to nearly £5.00. Clearly I misjudged the prospects of the business and that […]

Electrocomponents: Becoming First Choice

You don’t have to look far to discover Electrocomponents’ ambition. “BECOMING FIRST CHOICE” is the title of its annual report this year. But that strapline is one of the last things I found out about the company while evaluating the share. I discovered Electrocomponents using the simplest of screens in SharePad, learned more about it […]

Face-off: Tenpin versus Hollywood Bowl

Tenpin bowling chains are like London buses. You wait around for years and then two of them list almost at the same time. Phil Oakley has already reviewed the UK’s biggest operator, Hollywood Bowl, but there’s more to be learned from the number two. Private equity owners of companies tend to list them on the […]

A new issue that is already a winner

Looking through the prisms of profitability, debt, cash flow, strategy and valuation, Strix may be an exception to the rule that new issues make bad investments. Finance professor Elroy Dimson and his colleagues made a startling find when they studied the long term returns of UK Initial Public Offerings between 1980 and 2014. The longer […]

AGMs – If in doubt, ask

Most companies will answer questions from shareholders and potential shareholders. At Annual General Meetings shareholders have a right to ask questions and get answers. A large proportion of listed companies report full-year results in late winter and spring because their financial year-ends coincide with the end of the calendar year in December. As surely as […]

Putting performance in perspective

To get a grip on where a company is going you have to understand where it has come from. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean reading every annual report. Usually, it’s not enough to read the latest annual report. To understand a firm’s business model and strategy, how it makes money, how it plans to make more, […]

How to read an annual report

Rule number one in long-term investing is to understand how the businesses you expect to profit from will make money – otherwise, how can you be confident they will? Annual reports are the most complete source of public information on how businesses make money, and how they intend to make more money. Investors who read […]

The Terry Smith algorithm

In this article I’ve attempted to find Fundsmith-like companies using SharePad. The results are mixed but there’s a lot to be learned from the experiment. A letter from Terry If like me you hold units in Fundsmith, last month you will have received a letter from the fund’s celebrated manager Terry Smith. In publishing an […]

Buy and build

If you take a look at Diploma through the lens of SharePad’s summary page (under the green ‘Financials’ tab), you will find it shares many qualities of a good business. It has raised the dividend every year since 1999, a significant period in the company’s history as we shall see. It has grown turnover, profit, […]

Settings for the big picture

Happy New Year! I’ve started mine by tidying up my many desktops: my physical desk, my laptop’s desktop, and SharePad. I did so much experimenting with SharePad in 2017, I’ve overwhelmed the lists of settings. Settings are how we make SharePad our own. They are where we save list and chart configurations we use repeatedly, […]

The elusive hire firms you can buy and hold

Last week I introduced the listed plant and tool hire companies and mentioned in passing the industry has a bit of a boom bust reputation. Perhaps I didn’t egg the pudding enough, though. Ashtead’s market capitalisation is nearly £10bn, more than ten times what it was nearly two decades ago. In one sense it’s an outstanding growth […]

Homing in on hire firms

Homing in on hire firms When business is sluggish at construction sites and factories, tools and equipment are returned and hire companies make less profit. The hire industry has a boom-bust reputation built on top of the boom-bust reputations of some of the industries it serves. It may seem like an ambitious project to seek […]

Finding companies that speak your language

Finding companies that speak your language It’s a commonly held view that the only bits of financial reports worth paying attention to are the numbers at the back – in the profit loss account and balance sheet for example. For investors alive to potential shenanigans, the audited numbers get us close to the unalloyed truth […]

Shares to hold to the grave, and beyond…

For my debut SharePad article, I’ve been invited to introduce my stockpicking strategy. It’s a daunting prospect because strategy is everything. Without a strategy, luck or instinct will determine our returns and in the stock market neither can be relied on. There are many reinforcing activities that make a good strategy, so please forgive the […]