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Investing

2 Cheap Cars To List On The NZX

On the 26th of Feb 2021 2 Cheap Cars (and associated trading company NZ Motor Finance representing the finance arm) are due to list on the NZX under the ticker NZA (registered company name: NZ Automotive Investments Limited). This will be the 3rd used car retailer available to purchase on the NZX.

NZA are listing as a “Compliance Listing” which means that the listing will not involve a capital raise. Such listings are usually either to give existing shareholders a lucrative point of exit, but can be for other reasons (such as a fair way to establish a price for shares, or the opportunity to do capital raises at a later date).

Personally I’m not going to jump in until there is more public performance(growth) history available with which I can make a more sound judgement. Sure there’s probably some good data to work with in the IM with the listing, but my personal preference is that there are a few years of history that has been publicly released each year because it’s harder to contest and it also shows how well management are able to produce accurate guidance.

Additionally, as shareholders usually look for an exit when prices are approaching a peak, it’s possible that current insiders think that the business might be fully valued with little growth ahead. This may not be the case; it might be that early investors are simply looking to capitalize on their original investments so they can retire, or whatever; but for me, there’s no need to take this risk.

I’ll wait a year or so before investigating this properly.

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Investing

Why I Think Summerset Is A Buy Right Now

There are no surprises in Summerset’s FY20 announcement, with Underlying NPAT being almost exactly on guidance (released Dec 2020), though truthfully I was hoping for a bumper result due to record sales being published a month after the guidance was announced.

Not a very exiting result, but not bad when you consider that no sales could be made during the lockdown. Also, it’s been nice to see total NPAT increase by 32% against FY19, the difference of which being that total NPAT considers increase in value from property revaluations.

With a market cap of $2,876m against FY Underlying NPAT of $98.3m, excluding cash in the bank, that puts SUM on a ratio of just under 30. This is expensive based on Underlying earnings, or cheap based on NPAT. So depending on your reason for purchasing, SUM could be viewed as expensive or cheap; but here’s the crux: even if you’re investing based on the value of return in underlying value (i.e. not investing based on increasing NTA), NTA has an effect on NPAT: as property prices go up, customers must pay more to buy in, which means more profit. Additionally, as property prices go up, it becomes more favourable for potential customers to unlock the value in their homes and move into a Summerset property.

So what’s peaked my interest in Summerset recently? Well, because of my job I have a unique insight into the property sales data in a way that isn’t available to most. I was recently stunned by the latest sales data while I was investigating what I thought was a gross inaccuracy in some property price estimation software using this data. It seems that property prices are going wild, and my own home looks like it’s increased by 20%-30% within the last 2 months. I’ve not done a fully analysis, but I’ve looked at enough data to see that prices are going crazy.

Given that SUM’s share price doesn’t seem to have fully factored this in (based on a lack of change in the past 2 months), I think that SUM are a great buy right now for anyone with a longer term outlook (at least a year). Based on Underlying NPAT, a PE of less than 30 would require a return of +20% on next year’s earnings. Looking at Summerset’s prior performance and current state of the residential housing market, I think this is entirely possible. Even though risks from changes to the LVR scheduled in March could impact this, I feel comforted by the extended period of low interest rates which (as any property investor will tell you) makes property investment hum.

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Investing

Retail Data Released From Stats NZ Today

Retail sales from December 2019 – December 2020 rose by 4.9%. This bodes well for retail stocks, though it’s worth checking that the share prices / announcements haven’t already accommodated this growth. Notably ASB’s analyst suggests that this pullback from Q3 data doesn’t give a positive outlook, but does suggest stability. Personally, I agree, but suspect that the over-all positive growth signs opportunities to outperform for particularly successful retailers, such as HLG.

In the same release of data, Stats NZ reported that:

The momentum of higher spending on motor vehicles continued into the December 2020 quarter with another solid increase of 12%… after the 13% lift in the September 2020 quarter.

Stats NZ (Email), 23 February 2020

This bodes very well for stocks that are involved in the sale of vehicles, though again, it’s worth doing a little bit of research into whether this is now reflected in the share price, and of course if such stocks fit within your investment strategy.

Normally I’d do this research to determine if any such stocks look like a good “buy” right now (and publish it here), but I’m currently not in the position to buy stocks until after April; hence the lack of recent articles here.

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Investing

Inflation Risk In NZ

As I approach retirement, inflation (which was formerly my friend) is becoming my foe. While saving for retirement I’ve used cheap debt (mortgages) to fund various investments which have returned higher rates than the cost of the debt. Essentially I’ve leveraged the bank’s money to profit, rather than my own (comparatively pitiful) savings. This has had a two-fold benefit over the years. Firstly it has enabled me to get rich from someone else’s money, and secondly inflation has made the cost of my debt lower as time goes by. For example, a $240k mortgage to buy a $300k house 10 years ago isn’t much when the house is now worth $1m and my salary is double what it was.

Unfortunately inflation is the enemy of the retired. The value of the savings a retiree has are eroded by inflation. So as a “young” retiree (I’ll be nearly 40 when I retire next year) my retirement strategy will have to consider inflation. Whilst my strategy does consider inflation (I plan to have a component of my income to cover my costs and another component to grow), recently proposed political policies have made me concerned. Specifically I’m concerned that inflation may not be evenly spread across all asset classes, which creates risk to business (and therefore potentially my investments) and risk to my future living costs / lifestyle choices. I’m also concerned that inflation may be greater than the growth on my income.

It’s important to be aware of inflation whether you’re retired, planning retirement or currently investing because it will probably affect your strategy / opportunities.

Lewis Hurst

Let’s look at the inflation risks that are present in the current economic and political environment (existing policies put in place by the current government are in darker text, while policies proposed in the recent Climate Change Report are accented in a lighter colour. As I’m an opinionated fellow, I couldn’t help adding my opinion of the policy, but I’ve put this in italic so you’re free to ignore the italic text if you wish):

  • Increased minimum wage. This should cause general inflation as people have more money to spend, which creates increased demand and an ability to pay more for any particular goods or services. It has been hypothesized by economists that distributing more money amongst the poorest of the populace is the best way to spur an economy as all the extra money gets spent, vs. more affluent people who may save some of the additional money.
    At the time I thought this was a bad policy because the inflation would cancel the some of the gains, and therefore there are better ways to achieve what the policy set out to achieve. Additionally the policy was risky because it could put many businesses out of business. The policy also came at a really bad time with COVID19. However, after the policy was implemented, most businesses seemed to be able to handle the new costs, so it was probably the right thing to do (although I think there was a lot of luck in the success of this policy).
  • Quantitative Easing (QE, AKA Printing Money). There is currently a massive amount of QE going on in NZ and around the world. Both QE and increasing the minimum wage are policies that create general inflation.
    I believe that Western countries around the world have been using QE in a battle to reduce the value of their currency, in order to make themselves more competitive exporters and at the same time deflating their debt with the inflation that goes along with QE.
  • Banning oil exploration. This policy is inflationary because it reduces supply of oil, which therefore pushes the price up.
    I believe that this is another of Labour’s policies that does the opposite of what was intended because it doesn’t reduce demand, so demand will just be fulfilled from oil imports – which will create more strain on the environment as extra fuel is used to import the fuel. The argument for the policy was to create strain on the market to produce motors that use alternative fuel sources, but as NZ has no such motor industry, will import the fuel anyway, and is too small to influence foreign motor industries, I believe that no such technology will emerge from this change. Again, there are better ways to achieve what this policy set out to achieve.
  • KiwiBuild. This policy is inflationary because builders were attracted away from the NZ private sector (who would have otherwise been building houses) to build houses for the government. This inflates the price of builders as it creates extra demand, while at the same time not increasing supply as those builders would have otherwise been fulfilling private demand for housing. Increasing the cost of builders makes new housing more expensive.
    Additionally the government bought houses from the private sector for political reasons, so they could tout the success of the failing build rate of the KiwiBuild policy. This temporarily inflates the price of housing because it creates temporary extra demand as the private sector bids for housing against the government.
    Another Labour policy that did the opposite of what it was intended to do, whilst at the same time adding inefficiency into the market in terms of admin cost, and in the case of houses that were built as part of the KiwiBuild policy, placing houses where people didn’t want them – further increasing house prices due to an effective reduction of supply due to lack of housing in areas that required it.
  • Reducing the amount of dairy cows to reduce methane emissions. This will reduce the supply of meat, which will inflate the price.
    I imagine it would be better to put restrictions on the thing they are trying to regulate (the emissions) rather than the thing creating the emissions. That way the free market can find the best way to reduce emissions, leaving the reduction of herds as a last resort.
    There is talk suggesting that NZ dairy farms have lower emissions than foreign farms. If this is true, this will be another Labour policy that does the opposite of what it intends, because demand for dairy will not decrease, so foreign supply will fill the gap, resulting in an over all increase in emissions.
  • Phasing out natural gas. This will decrease the supply of energy, increasing the demand on other sources such as green electricity. Probably a good thing, but this will cause inflation in the price of alternative sources as supply decreases.
  • Ban the importing of cars with combustion engines. Again, reducing supply increases prices.

Regardless of political views, these policies are inflationary. Having a quick look at the list, it seems that existing policies are generally inflationary, with a leaning towards inflating transport and housing; while proposed policies could cause inflation in food, energy and transport.

To summarize my position, as I intend to get part of my income from rental income, NZX.SUM, NZX.SCL and gentailers, I only have transport costs to worry about. Still, with all this additional inflation, I may need to ensure that the growth rate of my income is more heavily weighted. This means that I may need more money to be able to retire safely. As usual, I’ll be playing it by ear, and evolving my strategy to my situation as it changes.

Sources:

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Investing

Thinking About Buying ATM Shares?

If you’re thinking about buying ATM shares right now, beware.

While ATM shares may seem attractive based on a price to earnings view, there are some disparaging signs that make them less attractive. Specifically today’s data from Stats NZ showing that “New Zealand’s biggest goods export, dairy products, fell $377m (19 percent) in December 2020, compared with the same month in 2019”.

I’m not saying that this makes ATM a bad buy, just that anyone considering buying ATM shares should consider this in their analysis.

It’s important to note that I’ve not done any analysis on whether ATM is a buy right now, because as previously mentioned in my other articles, I plan to retire soon and need to invest in stocks that pay dividends now, not in 10 years time (though it may transpire that I will have room in my portfolio for such a stock next year, depending on how things go).

If I were to do any analysis, I would be modelling results based on MBS and CBEC growth with recent evidence considered, then if that was unfavourable (or if I was managing a portfolio with a risky element and looking for higher gain), I would model how the price would look post-COVID. This model would be a DCF style analysis and would have a significant risk premium in consideration.

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Investing

My Portfolio On The 13th Of January 2021

I’ve been stocking up on some Fisher Paykel Healthcare (NZX.FPH) shares over the past few days, so I thought I’d update my pie chart to get a visual representation of my portfolio as it has previously proved useful to me.

The chart isn’t as useful to me as it has previously been because I’m not so fussed about having a balanced portfolio at this stage. This year is mainly about accumulating growth stocks (particularly those growing this year) so I can get as much of a discount as possible to next year’s prices, in preparation of selling up some angel investments to enable my retirement by the end of next financial year.

My case for investing in FPH is because it’s a long term growth stock, which means that even if it falls after proliferation of COVID vaccines, it should recover the position within a few years. However, it’s my believe that this perpetually expensive stock is likely to surprise on the up-side. The reason for this is that the last guidance provided made some conservative assumptions, and the COVID situation has got worse since that guidance was released. Additionally, my research suggests that vaccine deliveries are not happening very quickly when the global population is concerned. I suspect that COVID will be around a long time to come, so FPH is a good bet.

I feel happy to be overweight in FPH and SUM (because of the way the residential property market is going), but am disappointed that I didn’t buy more EBO shares back when I had identified them as good value.

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Investing

2021 Stock Picking Competition

Each year there is a stock picking competition, which I believe started on ShareTrader.co.nz, and is now sponsored by NZ Herald (I may be wrong about that). The competition requires each participant to select 5 stocks at the start of the year and a backup stock in case one gets bought out. The winner is the participant who’s stock price (adding any dividend payments) has increased the most from the start of the year to the end of the year.

I find the competition quite difficult because of the time of year it starts. Typically I don’t do a lot of research over the Christmas break, and it’s often a time that is between company announcements, so it’s a bit of a guess where things are at, at that time of year. Also prices are a bit random due to the annual Santa Rally.

Nevertheless, here are my picks for the 2021 competition:

  • FPH
  • SUM
  • RYM
  • EBO
  • HLG (I was very tempted to pick ATM, but I don’t expect the Daigou Channel [Australia/China travel] to have recovered by the end of the year – ATM will likely be my pick for the following year)

Feel free to record your own picks in the comments at the bottom of this article, or head over to the sharetrader.co.nz website to enter officially (though I think it might be a bit late if you haven’t already entered – still, there’s no reason you can’t comment your picks below and join in the fun).

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Investing

Changing My Investing Strategy – Part I

Past Strategies

I’ve had a number of strategies for investing over the years. Initially I was a property investor who planned to do a FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) type approach to saving in order to buy 5 houses to rent, then give up the aggressive FIRE saving to live a normal life for 30 years until those houses were paid off so I could live off the rent.

The property market changed a few years into my plans, which altered my strategy as each year passed, changing from a strategy to buy and sell to retire, to a buy and leverage to buy stocks, eventually becoming too much of a burdon in the effort to do my tax returns and dealing with bad tenants, causing me to part ways with property and focus solely on stocks.

I then discovered Angel Investing, and have made significant gains investing a number of six-figure sums in a handful of companies in this arena, which has altered my retirement timeframes significantly.

With my retirement timeframe brought forward, I now need to change my investment strategy from investing in growth stocks that will eventually pay dividends in 5-10 years time, to a new strategy that will give me an income and security in my retirement, which will be either next year or the year after – though truthfully I haven’t decided if I want to work for a few more years to get more security, socialize while my friends are at work, or become mega rich (the later is possibly less interesting to me, unless it would facilitate some other interest, such as making a business out of some of my inventions – yes, I’m also an inventor!).

How To Make An Investment Strategy

Having a strategy is something often talked about, but not often explained. People new to investing will always say:

“My strategy is just to make a bunch of money.”

“Buy low, sell high!” – words often proclaimed by the least educated of investors.

“I will invest in shares until I have enough money to buy a house.”

New Investors

Actually to be fair, the last one in the list of quotes there is almost a strategy.

To build an investment strategy, you first need a goal. That goal will most likely be to buy a house or save for retirement, though it could be as simple as buying a car or saving for a holiday. In fact, I would suggest that everyone’s goal should be to save for retirement, and holidays, homes and cars are things that you include in your strategy as interruptions along the way.

Once you have a goal for your strategy, you need to do some financial modelling. This will tell you what you need to do in order to meet your goals.

To do a financial model, first work out how much money you’ll need to attain your goal(s). Then work out how much you can save, how much you’ll need to invest each year, and how much your investments need to grow to attain the goal(s) set out. You’ll need to do several of these models to model what happens if things go right, wrong or somewhere in between. You’ll need a strategy for each scenario (or at least a strategy to deal with the near term issues).

Once you’ve got your models sorted out, you should think about whether they are tolerable. Do they prevent you from having the sort of life you want? If so, perhaps you can make another model that has some compromise? Your compromise should not involve making your financial models rely on your situation becoming more fortuitous than you might realistically expect. Alternatively this might be the nudge you need to put in the effort to get that higher paid job.

Once you have your financial model, you should refine your investment strategy around this. There might be a few investment strategies that fit your models. For example, at for the past few years, my strategy was to save like crazy then put my savings into investments that will grow at a rate that does not require me to save any of my salary – which I then used as a giant leisure budget as compensation for my time spend saving. Of course this was balanced by a backup plan which involved my savings being redirected back to investing if things didn’t go to plan.

You should always have at least one backup plan.

In fact, not only should you have backup plans, but you should have multiple plans that phase in and out of existence as situations change, much like my car keys seem to when I’m looking for them.

My Investing Strategy For 2021

My goal remains the same, which is to retire, but my timeframes have changed significantly. Therefore my new goal is to invest in things that will:

  • Give me dividends within the next 1-2 years, every year. This basically means that I need investments that give me dividends now, which have a history of paying dividends, so I can be sure that they will produce dividends in 1-2 years.
  • Gives me security of income for decades to come. This means that I’ll need access to a pot of money that can get me through bad times, with possibly a Plan C in case that goes awry. This also means that I’ll need my dividend producing stocks to grow the dividend return at a rate higher than inflation to be comfortable, or come up with an alternative strategy such as buying growth stocks that may not pay dividends, but can be sold at a later date to cover the failings of my dividend growth stocks – not my preference. I will also need a significant amount of diversification such that the loss of a few stocks from my portfolio will not make my lifestyle untenable, or have a Plan D that makes my lifestyle less expensive while I save / work for enough money to replenish my position.

As I’ve written a lot today, I think I might write up the rest of my Investing Strategy for 2021 another day. In the next article of this subject I will cover my costs, how I plan to diversify and cover my risks, and my investing strategy for the coming year prior to the preparation for my retirement, which will involved divesting my holdings in companies and investing in dividend paying stocks (unless those companies start of pay reliable dividends backed by a policy in the Company Constitution).

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Investing

Reviewing The Year

Since 2021 is just around the corner I thought it might be a good time to look back and review my analysis on this website. The benefit of this would be to ensure that I’m providing quality analysis to others, but most importantly, to myself! Without reviewing yourself, it’s easy to let your ego convince you that everything you do is right, which stops you improving or even ensuring that you’re doing the right thing.

How will I measure the performance of my analysis?

This is a tough question. If I were a trader, I could just look at the “Buy” ratings I gave stocks and see if the share price went up after the article. I could then further quantify the success by weighting my results against how much I could have made on my trades. But I’m not a trader. I am an investor who has a specific strategy to attain my goals. For such an investor, it’s not about buying a stock and seeing if the market pushed the share price up; it’s about buying a stock and seeing if the reasoning was justified.

Good investing (as opposed to trading) is not measured by prescience of the share price, but sound reasoning within a fitting strategy.

Lewis Hurst

Given that, I will now go through the years articles written under the Investing section of my website and see what I can glean…

My Performance

Looking through my articles over the past year, I can draw the following conclusions:

  1. I was almost always right with my analysis when I did thorough research.
  2. I was good at predicting where share prices would go.
  3. I was bad at acting on minute indications that something might be wrong – even if I was able to detect that there was possibly something wrong.
  4. I was terrible at predicting the impact of Coronavirus and the recovery, particularly around retail stocks where there has not been enough information to perform a proper analysis or where directors have not been forthcoming with information.
  5. I have seen people on the internet (Facebook and Sharetrader.co.nz) using logic that was written in some of my articles – both in valuation techniques that I created and in explaining the logic around why stocks are priced the way they are.
  6. I have bought stocks without doing the full research, which caused me to sell them after doing the work that I should have done in the first place. Specifically, my assumptions have been very wrong when I did not do the full research required.
  7. I was bad at predicting where the economy was going.
  8. I was good at predicting the effect of fiscal stimulation.
  9. I managed to publish information about the Chinese producing a COVID19 vaccine before it reached national media.
  10. Finally, there are a LOT of speeling mistakes in my articles. I apologize for this.

Despite a lot of red in the above list, I think I didn’t do too badly. Basically I’m good at pricing stocks, picking opportunities and doing the research, but bad at predicting things when there’s not much information, and I need to make sure I don’t buy without researching things thoroughly.

I think the one thing of concern is that I need to react quicker to the suggestion that there might be bad news, and I need to somehow address my inability to predict the future of the economy.

To do this, I will keep trying to predict the future of the economy until I get good at reading the signs (assuming that such a thing is possible). Until I get good at this, I will re-engineer my investment strategy to account for my inability to mitigate this risk – which is something that I intended to do anyway in light of my changing financial circumstances as I accelerate towards retirement (or perhaps I should say “financial independence”, as I’ve not decided what to do about my work plans), which should be at the end of 2021 or some time in 2022.

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Investing

Legal Matters: Convertible Note Gotcha’s

I’ve never invested with Convertible Notes before, the idea has always had a funny smell that’s put me off. I feel too inexperienced with Convertible Notes, and therefore don’t feel like I know all the risks and things to look out for when buying Convertible Notes.

What Are Convertible Notes?

Convertible Notes are an alternative to buying shares, in order to invest in a company. Essentially Convertible Notes are a legal contract that defines a thing you get, which at some point should convert into actual shares in the company.

Convertible Notes are a great way to invest if it’s hard to place a value on the company. For example, if a company has limited financial history making a valuation difficult, then Convertible Notes can be used to invest, such that the notes convert into shares after a period of time has passed that would enable a valuation. The value that they would convert into would then be based on that future value and an investor would either get a large chunk of a small company, or a small chunk of a big company.

Problems With Convertible Notes (From An Investors Perspective)

Like any legal contract, you have to read and understand the terms so you don’t get caught out. You also need experience in the area to know what gotcha’s need covered off, and what snakes could be hiding in the long grass.

As I am inexperienced when it comes to investing in companies via Convertible Notes, I thought it might be useful to use this article to store information about Convertible Note gotcha’s that I come across or can think of. I expect this list to grow organically as I discover new information or am forced to investigate this more thoroughly due to investment opportunities popping up with Convertible Notes. If you are aware of things that should be added to the list, please leave a comment below.

  • Convertible Notes must have a condition that ensures that they convert into shares, and it must be impossible for that condition not to not come true, otherwise the Convertible Notes will never be worth anything.
    An example of a Convertible Note that never matures would be one that is converted to shares based on the market value ascribed at the next capital raising. Existing shareholders / directors could then ensure that they never raise any more capital, causing the Convertible Notes never to convert to shares.
  • You don’t have the same rights as a shareholder, which means the terms of your investment could change if the existing shareholders vote to change the Company Constitution.
  • In the case of investing in very early stage companies, the (typically 20%) discount to the next capital raise that you get in buying the Convertible Notes is probably not enough to represent the level of risk of investing in a less mature company – so the risk premium is not fairly reflected in the price of the Convertible Notes.
  • What happens if the company is bought out? Is this covered by the conditions of the note?
  • What happens if the subsequent fund raise which dictates the value of your Convertible Notes is not at arms length from the existing shareholders? They could manipulate the share price higher, so you don’t get fair value for your investment.