Here’s hop­ing for a less frus­trat­ing year

Financial Mail - Investors Monthly - - Editor’s Note - MARC HASEN­FUSS email Marc on hasen­[email protected]­soblack­

THIS IS OUR LAST EDI­TION for 2018. And I hope when we re­turn to pick up the first edi­tion of 2019 that this das­tardly mar­ket has found some trac­tion.

I can’t re­mem­ber a more frus­trat­ing year. There’s noth­ing quite like care­fully mon­i­tor­ing a cov­eted small cap as it drifts into your tar­get price range, ac­cu­mu­lat­ing a po­si­tion, and then watch­ing it slither ever lower — helped by ru­mours and gos­sip that tend to take hold in these jit­tery mar­ket con­di­tions. Of course, not ev­ery­one is un­happy with the woe­ful mar­ket rat­ings.

We are al­ready see­ing a slew of delist­ings, where own­ers or strate­gic share­hold­ers are will­ing to pay a pre­mium to buy out dis­grun­tled mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers who have long lost sight of that com­pany’s true longer-term po­ten­tial.

Mar­ket lore has it that a spate of delist­ings usu­ally sig­nals that the mar­ket is close to the bot­tom. I cer­tainly hope that will prove true, and that, in the process, the JSE does not lose many of its best small-cap coun­ters.

In prepa­ra­tion for this edi­tion I was look­ing through the read­ers’ stock picks for 2018.

Trust me, no­body shot the lights out. A few read­ers came out with a smidgen of hon­our — in re­strict­ing their de­clines to sin­gle dig­its.

I think I can safely say we should let sleep­ing dogs lie, and call off the 2018 con­test (un­less there is a mor­bid fas­ci­na­tion with who man­aged the least neg­a­tive re­turn).

In ret­ro­spect, some of the com­ments made by some of the stock-pick­ing read­ers at the start of the year might be worth re­call­ing.

One reader jus­ti­fied an MTN pick with: “I see it pos­si­bly com­ing off a bit and re­cov­er­ing to the R150 level … ”

A num­ber of read­ers saw Stein­hoff at the R20-R25 level, and took huge hits with Pem­bury, Aveng, Blue La­bel Tele­coms, As­cendis Health and Dis­tri­bu­tion & Ware­hous­ing Net­work.

OK, so as­sum­ing we are not too shell­shocked by events this year, let’s re­con­vene the con­test for what will hope­fully be a spright­lier 2019.

So be­fore cal­en­dar year end mail me your five share picks for the year ahead. We’ll mea­sure the per­for­mance from the first day of trad­ing in 2019 un­til mid-Novem­ber, when we start putting to­gether the last edi­tion of IM.

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