Taking stock: How we beat our own targets

The Clime growth portfolio has returned 26% over two years … and now it’s time to close.

Summary: The growth portfolio constructed two years ago, and adjusted at various times over the period, has returned about 26%. BHP has held its position in the portfolio over the two years and is regarded as trading in value for long-term investors.
Key take-out: The short-term outlook for our economy is very much determined by the price of iron ore and the value of the Australian dollar. BHP is a major beneficiary of a weaker Australian dollar and higher iron ore export volumes.
Key beneficiaries: General investors. Category: Shares.

It’s hard to believe it now, but two years ago in mid-2012, when John Abernethy appeared in Eureka Report promising a stock portfolio that would achieve a compounding return of 10% per annum … it was a brave call.

Back then confidence was at a low ebb, the fears of a euro collapse remained intense, markets had been in turmoil for months and it seemed like it would go on forever.

So, it makes a lot of sense for Eureka Report today to close one door and open another. As you probably know we have been rebuilding Eureka Report from the inside over the last year laying the foundations for future years by hiring our own in-house analysts so that we can offer you an enhanced product.

As John moves to close out his growth portfolio after two years (which closes today) and his income portfolio (which closes next week) we’d like to offer him a round of applause because he beat his own confident targets by some degree.

In the weeks ahead you’ll see Eureka Report put in place some key building blocks for your future portfolio needs. David Walker of Stocks In Value is going to provide exclusive research to back our ‘calls’ on the market’s 10 biggest stocks along with a selection of what he sees as outstanding value opportunities. Our new fixed income analyst Rosemary Steinfort will unveil her preferred income choices from the fixed income markets, and those ‘picks’ will be topped off with ongoing original stock ‘calls’ from our in-house stock analysts including Simon Dumaresq and Brendon Lau.

At Eureka Report we have built a reputation of creating value for you – the retail investor. What’s more, we like to think we can see some way down the track when it comes to optimising the publication for your purposes as an active investor – we’re already enjoying the next phase of our journey and I know you will too.

Alan Kohler, Editor In Chief

In April 2012 the growth portfolio was constructed with the aim of achieving a compounding return of 10% per annum over the medium to longer term.

Today I am closing the growth portfolio and hand over the development of a new “value-based” growth portfolio to the analysts at StocksInValue.com.au.

It is pleasing to report that the growth portfolio constructed two years ago, and adjusted at various times over the period, has returned about 26%. The original portfolio commenced with $120,000 invested equally over 10 securities. Today, its value sits just above $150,000. Notably, the portfolio will close with more than $62,000 in cash and with only eight remaining stock positions.

I will briefly outline my views on each of the remaining stocks and home in on what I think is the best value stock in the portfolio – namely McMillan Shakespeare Limited.

Portfolio comments (with six month target values)

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) has held its position in the portfolio over the two years and I believe it is trading in value for long-term investors. Today, more than ever before, the short-term outlook for our economy is very much determined by the price of iron ore and the value of the Australian dollar. I maintain my view, which has been tested recently, that the Australian dollar will continue to devalue over the next few years.

Simply stated, Australia cannot withstand the oppression of an inflated currency and BHP is a major beneficiary of a weaker Australian dollar and higher iron ore export volumes. Investors should reflect that if BHP does not do well in the next few years then it is hard to see how Australia will do well. (Our September 2014 valuation is $40).

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) is the best value of the major banks with a pre-tax running yield of more than 7% and a small discount to value. Generally I maintain my view that our major banks are fairly fully priced, but there is no denying that each is benefitting from the strong growth tailwinds of mortgage lending. The housing market is certainly pumped up in Sydney, after a similar rise in Melbourne. There is much discussion regarding housing prices and the concentration of risk developing in this area for the banks. Time will tell as to whether these risks are overstated, but my view is that affordability measures often quoted for housing loans are widely misleading. Just the other night my elderly mother told me that in the post-war years borrowers of housing loans were required to repay their loans over just five years! Today’s 20-year loans with low deposits simply allow borrowers to borrow too much and overpay for a house. It is said to be affordable, but with the extension of more debt. Anyway, that’s good for banks and good for ANZ (with a forward value of $34.41).

Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) has many of the same comments as those stated for ANZ. However, its market price is approaching my 2015 valuation and so it has certainly run pretty hard. It becomes a very weak hold at prices above $35 ex the next dividend, and I think a repurchase at prices approaching $32 is appropriate. That range may seem tight but I expect Westpac underlying value to grow slowly in coming years.

Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) does maintain its position in any sensibly constructed long-term portfolio. My six month target valuation is $36.78, with the value expected to rise by 5% per annum over the foreseeable future. Woolworths, like Wesfarmers, is a genuine beneficiary of Australia’s solid population growth and I expect immigration to continue to grow as we battle an ageing demographic. However, acquirers of the stock should patiently wait for a price below $34.

The Reject Shop Limited (ASX:TRS) was covered by me a few weeks ago when I identified it as very good value towards $9. In that report I suggested that “shorting” hedge funds would get active and I note that TRS short interest has now lifted to over 7% of the register and the stock price has risen. My two-year target price is above $12 and I retain an accumulate on the stock at prices below $10.

Brickworks Limited (ASX:BKW) has generated a healthy return for the portfolio over the last two years with a spirited corporate play and discernable uplift in house building activity. The shareholders meeting called by Perpetual Fund Management is set down again for May. The actual holding of this meeting remains subject to a tax ruling concerning the transactions proposed by Perpetual.

In the meantime the Millner family has disclosed that it has bought more Brickworks shares ahead of the meeting. I must say that I am confused as to why ASIC insists that Soul Pattinson (ASX:SOL) cannot buy Brickworks shares (and I think that SOL should be allowed to) whilst the directors of Soul Pattinson can.

SMS Management & Technology Limited (ASX:SMX) has fallen in price since it entered the portfolio about six months ago. However, the forward valuation looks compelling and certainly a normal economic recovery cycle would see the fortunes of SMX improve dramatically. Also, I do regard SMX as a strategic asset for a major offshore company looking to enter the Australian/Asian IT services market. My forward valuation is above $5 and I expect to see this price over the next two years with fairly healthy dividends being paid.

McMillan Shakespeare Limited (ASX:MMS) is clearly the best value stock in the portfolio when comparing market price to current intrinsic value. Of course, the risk to the salary packaging company is regarded by the market as high as the May 2014 budget is drawn up. I guess the doomsayers can point to the statements of the Treasurer, who seems to suggest that budget pain is going to be shared by everyone.

Source: StocksInValue.com.au

I may well be shot down on May 13 but I cannot see why the Government would target the salary packaging benefits of “non for profit” employees or public health workers. These benefits may well be “means tested” as every other tax benefit should be – including superannuation, but the lifting of the cost structures for the public health system simply does not make sense. Salary packaging keeps the costs of healthcare in check and this is an area of federal and state budgets that will balloon in future years. If salary packaging benefits are cut then wages will rise in compensation. Further, private doctors will have less incentive to operate in the public domain.

So investors have an opportunity to acquire MMS shares at an attractive discount to today’s intrinsic value. Further, the company’s retained earnings are being directed into growth opportunities in the United Kingdom so as to diversify the risk of the business.

The following table (Figure 2) shows the impressive history of MMS. The recent dip in 12 month rolling profit was caused by the previous government indiscretion and that explains the current market concerns.

Source: StocksInValue.com.au

John Abernethy is the Chief Investment Officer at Clime Asset Management. Clime offer excellent performing growth and income portfolios through its individually managed accounts service. To find out more, or to request a review of your share portfolio, call Clime on 1300 788 568 or visit www.clime.com.au.

Clime Growth Portfolio Statistics

Return since June 30, 2013: 7.89%

Returns since Inception (April 19, 2012): 26.88%

Average Yield: 5.87%

Start Value: $141,128.64

Current Value: $152,259.84

Dividends accrued since June 30, 2013: $5,253.41

Clime Growth Portfolio - Prices as at close on 15th April 2014
CompanyCodePrice as at 30.06.2013 Market
FY14 (f)
GU Yield
BHP Billiton LimitedBHP$31.37$37.784.61%$39.394.26%
Australia and New Zealand Banking GroupANZ$31.00$33.527.46%$34.412.66%
Westpac Banking CorporationWBC$28.88$34.377.56%$31.55-8.20%
Woolworths LimitedWOW$32.81$35.975.52%$36.782.25%
The Reject Shop LimitedTRS$17.19$9.935.18%$11.3314.10%
Brickworks LimitedBKW$12.70$13.504.44%$13.641.04%
McMillan Shakespeare LimitedMMS$16.18$9.556.73%$12.0426.07%
SMS Management & Technology LimitedSMX$4.55$3.695.42%$5.1138.48%
SecurityCode Value  Weight % 

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