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The 'I Really Can't Sell That' Conundrum

Would you like to know how professional fund managers invest in this volatile market environment?

We are of course talking about investing for the medium to long term. If you are looking for tips to actively trade the market, then this article is not quite for you.

Instead of providing a list of rules or policies to follow, we thought it might be more useful to provide some actual investment situations we’ve encountered over the recent months. A real behind the scenes look at some of our thought processes.

In part 1 of this series of articles, we start with the “I Really Can’t Sell That” conundrum.

“I Really Can’t Sell That”

If only we had a dollar for everyone who has said this to us in the past couple of months!

Nearly everyone we have been speaking to who own Australian shares have been lamenting the negative performance of their portfolio. On many occasions, our simple question to them is why do you still own so much resources shares?

The answer we get is normally some variation of “it has gone down 60%, I really can’t sell that” or “there is no way iron ore prices will get any lower”. We call this the “I really can’t sell that” conundrum. At AtlasTrend, we don’t agree with this thinking.

For us, investing is always about looking for the best risk adjusted return for the funds that we have been entrusted with investing. This means we look at our investment universe on a very regular basis. It forces us to always ask whether there are better investments available versus what we already own. If the answer is yes, we will sell that existing investment, regardless of what we initially paid for it because we can redeploy the funds for better returns elsewhere.

The above sounds logical. However, in practice it can be a very difficult discipline to put in place. Why?

It is all due to fear.

The Fear of Missing Out

From an investing perspective, there is not much worse than selling an investment for a large realised loss and then watching that investment increase in price again when you no longer own it. Without exception, everyone hates this feeling of missing out on the potential share price rebound.

However, has this fear ever caused you further losses rather than actual profits?

To battle against this fear, we take a disciplined approach of assessing risk and return. Investing in listed stocks within the resources sector is a topical example. If we were invested in a listed iron ore producer, we would be selling our position. Iron ore prices are floundering, dividends need to be cut, balance sheets are somewhat at risk and there are little to no future growth prospects to speak of for the foreseeable future.

The only reason to hold iron ore stocks would be a view that iron ore prices will experience a sustained increase. At best, forecasting iron ore prices is currently a stab in the dark. Most so called experts have gotten it terribly wrong in the past few years. For many investors, there are much better risk adjusted investments available in companies and industries that currently have the opposite industry dynamics compared to the resources industry.

Yes, you may realise a loss selling your resources investments. Yes, they may have a short term share price bounce. However, the reality is much of the resources megatrend of the past decade is over. It is time to move on and not let the fear of missing out on a rebound hold you back. After all, successful investing is about finding good companies in industries enjoying a strong tailwind.

We leave you with a simple question to help avoid the “I Really Can’t Sell That” conundrum. For every listed share you actually own right now, ask yourself:

“If I didn’t own this share at all, how many of these shares would I buy right now? – If you answered I wouldn’t buy any then you probably shouldn’t own any.

AtlasTrend has just launched a 4 part series on the listed stocks you should get exposure to in 2016. Register to become a member at www.atlastrend.com/register (it takes less than 1 minute) to start receiving the AtlasTrend series of Trending Insights exclusive to our members.

View More Articles By AtlasTrend

Kent Kwan is a co-founder of AtlasTrend, a global equities fund manager that makes it easy for anyone to invest in the world's most thriving trends.

Disclaimer: Atlastrend Pty Ltd (ABN 83 605 565 491) is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 001233660) of Fundhost Limited (ABN 69 092 517 087, AFS License No. 233045). Any advice contained in this communication is general advice only. None of the information provided is, or should be considered to be, personal financial advice. The content has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situations or needs. If you consider it necessary you should seek your own advice before making any financial or investment decisions. The information provided in this communication is believed to be accurate at the time of writing. None of Atlastrend Pty Ltd, Fundhost Limited or their related entities nor their respective officers and agents accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in, or any actions taken in reliance upon, that information.

Any managed investment fund product (Fund) mentioned in this communication is offered at www.atlastrend.com via a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) which will contain all the details of the offer. The PDS is issued by Fundhost Limited as responsible entity for the investment fund products. Before making any decision to make or hold any investment in a Fund you should consider the PDS in full. The PDS is available at www.atlastrend.com or by calling AtlasTrend on 1800 589 778. Investment returns are not guaranteed. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.



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