The stock market is closed today after a 4 day week that saw a lot of nervousness. Geopolitical risks seemed to be heightened by tensions between the EU and the UK and the US under the leadership of Donald Trump seems to lack direction. The Federal Reserve plans to increase interest rates, Trump wants them to stay low. The United States needs its own people to save and invest. They can’t rely on more inward investment from China and so a more regulated and less risky financial system coupled with higher interest rates would seem to make sense. Meanwhile, we small investors need to avoid putting all our eggs into one basket by diversifying.
In volatile markets, you have to assess risk and make forward predictions. The AIM is one of the most volatile and you have to look not only at the current value of a company but at the potential value. I’ve been watching Solo Oil and the price dropped quite dramatically from a high of 0.8 right down to 0.45 yesterday. Those are the bid prices and the spread at the close yesterday was a massive 20%. That was obviously the market makers manipulating the price to trigger stop losses and increase their margin.
One thing I have learnt about investing is never look back and regret your decisions. You can’t change the past so concentrate on the here and now and of course try to predict the future. I have sold a few shares a little too soon but who knows what will happen to them tomorrow? It is better to sell too soon and make a profit than sell too late and make a loss.
Sometimes it is the whole market that crashes and sometimes it is one or two share prices. To limit the damage, we need to diversify and have some investments not associated with the market. Then a big drop in the part of your portfolio that is invested in the stock market isn’t quite so damaging. I have an investment in peer-to-peer lending through Zopa. Surviving a crash emotionally is a different matter. People get excited about making money and upset when they lose money but you can get used to seeing it as numbers on paper or on a computer screen. There has been a lot of excitement on the forums recently about Solo Oil and the price soared from around 0.3 up to 0.8 more than doubling the value of my investment and then this week the news from NT2 wasn’t quite what some investors expected and the market makers slashed the price.
Most people understand the basics of economics. Recently there has been a worldwide glut of oil and so there was competition among producers that led to the oil price falling to below $50 a barrel which meant many producers were selling at a loss. Supply and demand largely dictate prices but in the case of oil, we also had to look at how much oil was stored. It will take a while before those stocks are deleted. When oil stocks are low then the oil price could soar to new heights again.
As a small investor, I obviously watch the stock market mostly to look for bargains but also to look for trends. I also watch some of the forums to see what other investors are saying. There is a lot of ramping because sentiment does influence buying and selling but not to an extent that we can influence it. I do suspect that traders in the City of London are more positive and tend to buy on days when the sun is shining! I don’t base my dealing on the weather forecast, though.
Just the way we think about finance can help us save money and make money. Finance can be about risk and a diverse approach to finance can limit that risk. Using a diverse approach when we are investing is fairly common but we can also use a diverse approach when we are buying too.
Solo Oil isn’t the only stock in my portfolio but it is the one I’ve been watching this week. It has soared from 0.42 to 0.53 (BID) since last Friday. The spread is still ridiculously high at 7.55%. The games market makers play! They have triggered a lot of stop-losses this week and stopped the games of some day traders.
Regular readers will know that I write about being thrifty on Thursdays with the exception of yesterday when I didn’t have time to write a post. In January we shop around less because we have less money to shop with. It is a frugal month for most people after the excesses of Christmas. I actually spent more on my credit card so have an unusually large bill next month. This month has been a month of making investment decisions.
Researching investments can be difficult. The best way is to read all the annual reports of every company. That is a good idea if you are making a major investment but who has time to read them all?
Some investments take a long time to come good and are much riskier than the FTSE 100 companies. We can limit risk by diversifying and limiting our exposure quantitatively. These investments often lose money, at least on paper in the short-term, but can give a good return in the long-term.
As a small investor, I’m always watching the market and this week my attention was turned towards the US markets. The Federal Reserve increased their base rate and this has global implications. The Bank of England decided to leave our rates unchanged, but for how long? There are already signs that the US dollar will appreciate against other currencies and my shares in GSK are finding favour again and seem a bargain compared to their October price. They have lost £2.00 a share in 2 months.
Many investors make an investment in a small company and hope they make it big. I have high hopes that Solo Oil will make it big with its shares in oil discoveries both in Tanzania and in the UK.
I’m watching interest rates around the world. It seems the Federal Reserve will be the first to normalise interest rates. It could be as early as next month but many pundits are betting on December. That could be the trigger for other central banks to raise their rates too. It would certainly have an effect on the value of the US dollar as more money would be invested in the US as international investors look for better returns on their funds. That, in turn, would have a negative effect on other currencies including the GBP.
Peer to peer lending as part of an investment strategy reduces risk. I’m still lending through Zopa at an interest rate of 4.2% through Zopa Classic. There are three different types of account including an access account paying 3.5% which beats the accounts offered by the banks easily. You don’t get FSA protection with Zopa though. I’ve been investing through Zopa for 5 years now and have accumulated a nice return.
Oil underpins the global economy and so a low oil price should be good for the global economy. However, the global economy is out of balance and being manipulated. The global economy should be a free market but it is no such thing. It is a network of trade deals, monopolies and cartels. (more…)
Shouldn’t we base our investment decisions on rational analysis instead of prejudice? If you drill a lot of holes in the process of making a living and need to buy a new electric drill. How do you decide which make of drill to buy? Do you look at the specifications and reliability or do you buy an American drill because the Germans bombed the chip shop 75 years ago and some Jap shot Great uncle Albert? Do we base our decisions on hate or logic? (more…)
This week the offer for Premier Foods by McCormick was withdrawn but the offer of 65p a share did show the hidden value in the company. It seems Nissin is still increasing its holding in the company and their joint venture seems a good deal for both parties. Premier’s share price still plummeted down to 42.5. This is still better than it was before the offer. (more…)
The government is in favour of staying in the European Union and is at pains to tell us that the City of London is at the centre the global finance industry and makes shed loads of money for ’Britain’. You might think they make their money on the stock market spreads and on commissions. (more…)
Market makers seem to trade with no goal except to make money. On the AIM market, they often increase spreads to as much as 20% for no apparent reason. Trying to figure out what they were doing this week was a challenge as usual. (more…)
When you’re investing in the stock market there are always political and global risks. Will the UK leave the European Union? It could affect trade and so it is a risk. The refugee crisis and the military action in Syria is a risk. As one risk disappears the politicians create another risk, this leads to a volatile market. You can lose money in a volatile market and you can make money. (more…)
All investors need a crystal ball right now. Will Britain leave the EU? Will interest rates change? Will the oil price go up or down? Will Trump be the next president of the United States? Will things get even worse in the Middle East? Will the global economy go back into recession? (more…)
This week I’ve been following the progress of the oil well at Horse Hill near Gatwick which has been flow-tested with good results. It’s producing about 450 barrels a day which is good for all the small companies involved. For Solo Oil, this is another investment to bring in revenue. (more…)