One year of Financial Engineering

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How time flies – with the publication of this Weekly, my blog now has officially turned a full year. Since launching my website on 08 August 2022, I have published now more than fifty two Weeklies, consistently one each week. I also launched two memberships where I am sharing my best stock ideas with my subscribed members (14 reports in total). Time for a look back, but also to the future.

Note: This Weekly will be of a different nature, as I am not going to discuss new stocks or to look at specific investment related topics like investing mindset or portfolio management ideas. Next week, you’ll get the “usual” Weekly format.

source: congerdesign on Pixabay

Having an own blog where I frequently write about investment related stuff has been a dream of mine for longer. I always have been more the writer than speaker or communicator type of person. Though I am not afraid to stand onstage, talking to a listening crowd of hundreds as I had to in my past job, now I can definitely say that writing is what fits me better.

And what gives me pleasure.

This desire grew as a mix of wanting to share my thoughts and ideas with other like-minded stock-pickers, of becoming a better investor myself as I must stand to what I present publicly, but also as some sort of self-therapy.

Over the years I’ve found out that writing things down frees up my mind. This is a heavily underestimated, yet powerful tool.

And it’s free, if you don’t count the cost of paper and some ink.

What was once burdening you in the sense of making you constantly think about something unintentionally, suddenly disappears when you write it down somewhere. It does not disappear at all, but it gives you some sort of relief and let’s you focus on what’s important.

Because you know you stored it in a safe place where you can every time look back into.

This concept that in its original sense was applied to handling your tasks and duties was called “getting things done”, by its author David Allen. Though I haven’t read his book, I heard him in a podcast.

This changed my life.

As my head is always full of thoughts and ideas, but also things I’d like to get done, knowing that a day has only 24 hours gross, a few years ago I finally began to write most things down. It started with tasks I wanted to get done. But also with personal goals I had, no matter the subject or timeframe.

One such goal was to have my own blog.

Exactly a year ago now, I finally started to put pen to paper.

source: Gino Crescoli on Pixabay

A look back and one forward

On 08 August 2022 this website went online.

On 11 August 2022, a Thursday, I published my first Weekly with concrete investment related content. My kick-off article discussed the stock of MicroStrategy (Ticker: MSTR, ISIN: US5949724083) with the title: “Microstrategy stock: A superior way to invest in Bitcoins?” (see here).

For those who don’t know, MicroStrategy actually is a legacy software company. Its CEO, however, fell in love with BitCoin and started to buy BitCoins – with his company.

It went so far that MSTR which prior was debt free, suddenly took on a huge debt load and bought BitCoins. My thesis was that this will cripple and possibly kill the company in the future as it is a hot gamble.

What has the stock done since?

source: Seeking Alpha (see here)

If you had ignored my analysis and bought the stock, you’d be up by some +14%.

But in-between, you would have been down by some 60%, either. A true roller-coaster ride. I am still convinced that this stock will not necessarily be a pleasure for its investors, as a strong dilution is likely to come when debt gets due.

All in all, this is not the type of stock idea I am personally looking for.

Every stock or company I look at, has to pass my strict filter to be interesting for me for a publication on this site. Over the years, I developed a screening mechanism, where I first quickly go through some “hotspots”, searching for red flags. What passes this first stage, enters my deeper analysis process – many fail here too, because either I find something I didn’t see before or often it is the price and valuation I am not fond of.

But the good news is that what gets dismissed often has not been a waste of time!

Among my post popular Weeklies have been those where I wrote about potential (and from my perspective likely coming) dividend cuts, but also other dividend related articles. I didn’t spare even dividend kings like 3M (ISIN: US88579Y1010, Ticker: MMM) as I am not betting on the continuation of what happened in the past.

I am checking what’s happening now, how a business develops and how its numbers evolve.

Either way, I learnt a lot on this journey. I also dug deeper into topics like accounting and balance sheets of banks (especially their investment portfolios), the question whether dividend growth or high yielding dividend stocks are more interesting, whether suffered losses or gains one never makes do hurt more or how a nation like Argentina seems to change politically and hopefully economically.

But I also spent much time on onshore and offshore energy – a topic where the latter seems to just have left a period of extreme drought.

source: Colin Behrens on Pixabay

Besides writing Weeklies about mostly stocks that I don’t like for one or more particular reasons (there are often valuable things to share), in late September 2022 I started my first Premium membership.

The first report was about the oil and gas producer Pioneer Natural Resources (ISIN: US7237871071, Ticker: PXD) – meanwhile, I closed this case with a total return (stock price appreciation plus dividends) of +16.1%.

For reference, you can download this report from September 2022 by clicking here.

And to see how my updates look like, you can see the closing of PXD by clicking here.

My goal was always to publish exclusive analyses on stocks I am really convinced of. And there has to be a margin of safety, i.e. a gap between the valuation on the market and the true value I find to be more appropriate.

What I don’t like is to follow blindly into highly advertised stocks that everyone knows about and is talking about.

With every such report, I am challenging myself not only to find a suitable and presentable idea not everyone knows already in the first place among the – what I believe – 80% or even more of garbage.

I developed a twelve-page report format that forces me to be on point and concise. Every company gets checked in its:

  • business model
  • management team and capital management
  • financials
  • valuation and outlook
  • risks to consider

Self-explanatory, there likely won’t be any companies that score fully on all points. What counts is a strong overall picture, but also I don’t want to have any red flags and major no-goes.

The advantage is, I must show that I have understood every thesis myself. “I believe it’s going up” is not enough. Only when I am able to explain the reason(s) behind a publication in easy to understand words, this job is done.

I am a firm believer that the best ideas are also often the simplest – it’s not about cracking something complicated no one else discovers, but to find a really plausible idea with strong fundamentals.

What you won’t receive from me is this type of “buy Nestlé with its less than 3% dividend yield and enjoy your yearly mini-raises” stuff. Likewise, I won’t call Apple a dividend growth stock with its microscopic dividend yield.

To be honest, services like mine are not needed for such “ideas”.

If they are extraordinarily cheap to buy or a special situation arises, it can be different. But most of the time I find these stocks not interesting. If you’re looking for such “ideas”, you’re at the wrong place.

But if you’re sophisticated and like real fundamental analysis with the potential to beat the market you will enjoy my reports, as many members already confirmed it to me. My closed cases so far are well ahead the S&P500, but also the MSCI World Index.

First, you don’t get concrete recommendations as to how and whether to act at all from me. I am just expressing my ideas. Second, I am personally annoyed by these Apple (ISIN: US0378331005, Ticker: AAPL), Nestlé (ISIN: CH0038863350, Ticker: NESN), etc. “stock tips”.

source: Th G on Pixabay

It is not that I want to published rather unknown ideas just for the “wow-effect”.

I am strongly driven by numbers and fundamentals. And most of those everybody’s darling stocks are overvalued, at times grossly. Although they had good runs in the past, this does not mean that such a series will continue in the future.

History tells us / me that you need to apply a margin of safety to your investments, besides knowing what you own and why you own it.

This way, until today, I published in total eleven reports for my Premium members – nine regular ones and two special / bonus reports, one as a thank you for your sign up to my free newsletter and another one without a particular reason.

In the meantime, I also closed four of the eleven cases. My members received respective updates with my reasons.

Below, you can see the achieved total returns so far which have been on average +19.3% (I put every stock from its starting date against the S&P500 as well as the iShares MSCI World Index ETF and calculated equal-weighted averages – my closed picks outperformed both):

source: all numbers in local currencies and without taxes; my own calculation, data from Yahoo Finance

Finally, in late April 2023, I started my Premium PLUS membership – my second exclusive circle. The goal here was to assemble even more demanding and sophisticated investors. The three ideas I published to date, have smaller market capitalizations and higher potential.

My goal is to find potential multi-bagger stocks. The analysis approach and the format of my reports, however, is the same! You get more ideas and I have to put more effort into them, as they are definitely harder to find.

On average, they are far ahead both benchmarks.

source: Tanja-Denise Schantz on Pixabay

But my journey did not go just trough my own desires, expressions and ideas.

I also received feedback from my readers, some also with concrete ideas and wishes of how to improve the overall experience which I am very thankful for.

Especially, as it often did not even take much time.

The top three gradual improvements that I implemented during the last year were:

  • a brief summary of a Weekly before it begings
  • the function to listen to my Weeklies on the go
  • a simplification of my menu structure (e.g. I pulled the log in / off button for my members out of a sub-menu)

I am really thankful for such seemingly small hints!

My blog as a whole, but especially the free Weeklies, are more a playground with evolutionary steps. Whenever you find something that is ready for an improvement, don’t hesitate to tell it to me!

For the next year, my most obvious goal of course is to find and write about hand-selected stock ideas that beat the market.

My latest idea, published just last Saturday and available for all members, kicked off the second year of my blog.

Although I already closed four cases, I have an open-end holding period.

Should an investment thesis take longer to materialize or the growth story be as valid as on day one, I am going to update continuously on the respective idea.

What is also possible is that I “reactivate” an older, closed case that has become interesting again via an update!

Besides, I also think that there will be small improvements here and there to further increase the user experience.

source: Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

With this, I sincerely want to thank all my readers and members from all around the world.

I have them both, readers and members alike, located between California and New Zealand as well as Finland and South Africa.

Let’s have another great year together!

By becoming a Premium or Premium PLUS Member, you get instant access to all my already published research reports as well as several updates.

Likewise, you qualify for eight, respectively three more exclusive reports with my best investment ideas plus updates on the featured businesses over the next twelve months.

Premium PLUS Members also get access to all Premium publications.