Monday 2 March 2015

Housekeeping (Portfolio Sale)

Even the simplest portfolio needs some attention. I have tried to automate the operation of the DIY Income Investor portfolio as much as I can - but the human touch is still needed.

I try to keep up-to-date on a more-or-less monthly cycle (I revise the portfolio totals each month). But with 30-odd different investment securities to keep tabs on, important developments can sometimes pass me by.

And so a bit of remedial action was required...

As I have discussed before, a portfolio spreadsheet is a great tool for keeping track of your investments. Using Excel, it is pretty straightforward - and infinitely customisable (and - if you are like me - you will fiddle with it constantly). However, if you want to download market data onto your Excel spreadsheet automatically, you will face some technical problems (I have given some advice on how to 'scrape' share prices before.)

As an alternative, Google Finance has a nice portfolio function (which I use to look at daily price movements) but this does not provide 'yield' data - the most important indicator for my investment style.

Having said that, I can 'scrape' around 80% of the data that I need but, despite my best efforts, I still have to manually input some data: typically yields or dividend data. And that means some 'housekeeping' is required to keep the portfolio up-to-date. But put off the housekeeping too long and you might find a surprise or two.

So, imagine my consternation when I updated the Balfour Beatty (LSE:BBY) forecast dividend/yield data: 1.9% yield???. A little (obviously overdue) reading showed that the final dividend this year is likely to be cut.

BBY is an old favorite of mine: I sold at a profit in 2014, then re-bought and even 'doubled up' when the price fell again. Under the DIY Income Investor approach, the loss of dividend is a clear signal to sell. Usually, that would be at a loss (with the market reacting negatively to such an announcement) - but fortunately in this case I am showing a modest capital gain on my purchases of BBY.

So off they go (with capital gains of 11% and 20% on the two tranches). And, according to the new long-term strategy, I will pile into some more ETFs with the proceeds.

[Sale price: £2.50]

I am not a financial adviser and the information provided does not constitute financial advice. You should always do your own research on top of what you learn here to ensure that it's right for your specific circumstances.-


  1. Replies
    1. That's what I am pondering today. Probably IUKD, in order to get some wider exposure to mainstream UK FTSE350 dividend-paying shares - rather than all my UK high-yield long-shots.

  2. Even with election coming up? How about a Euro divi one to capture possible QE gains (though there is always the Greece thing lurking I guess)?

    1. Yes, the election (and aftermath) is a concern, so it might be possible to buy IUKD cheaper in the coming months; in any case, I've just bought some...

      On Euro QE, I am already well loaded with IHYG (Euroland High Yield Bond ETF).