Long Time No See – Trading Update

Ruegen Forest

Dear All,

Firstly I just want to say thank you for all the fantastic comments that you guys have been posting over the last month whilst I’ve been absent. I really appreciate it!

Personal Update

As you may remember, last time I posted (sorry, more than a month ago!) I mentioned that I was off to Germany on holiday. We had a fantastic time, self-catering for nearly the whole trip (kept costs down) and seeing the wonderful beaches and sights of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern such as Schloss Bothmer, Schwerin, and the sheer weirdness that is Prora. Unfortunately, I got really sick when we returned to England (I’m sure I caught a nasty bug from another passenger through the aeroplane’s air). I then had a mountain of work to catch up on, due to having been away for so long. Then I got sick AGAIN. So that put me out of action for a while, and again caused another backlog at work. So the long and the short of it is that I have been effectively AFK for several weeks, other than for work purposes.

Trading Update

The good news is that I have still managed to make a few investments and I’ve recently managed to catch up on reading a few of my favourite investing/saving/frugalism blogs, specifically Dividend Life, The Dividend Drive, Quietly Saving, and FFB40. These all had lots of lovely updates whilst I’ve been away, so do check them out if you have not done so already. Of course, I can’t forget to mention No More Waffles, our favourite friend from Belgium. I am highlighting him specifically, because he wrote a really interesting post about Belgium’s cycling to work scheme, which is totally different to the British cycle scheme; ours being where you buy a bike through salary sacrifice, thus saving at least 25% then after a year you pay a one-off payment of either 3% or 7% . Check out NMW’s post if you’re interested in anything to do with bikes.

So, onto my trades. Really briefly – I bought Direct Line Insurance Group. I was at a loss as to what to do with my May/June investment, so thought about buying into more insurance stocks. Direct Line (LON:DLG) came up trumps, despite it not quite fulfilling my criteria (they have not been on the market for 7+ years being the major issue). However, they generate a lot of cash, and their upcoming special dividend was also a pull.

This was before the markets started going crazy over Greece. Since I bought DLG, it went down around 4-5% along with several of my other holdings, most notably Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSB), which is down 12.78% on my average price. Unfortunately, we need to have some work done to our car, so it looks like we might not be able to make another trade this month to take advantage of the current crazily-cheap RDSB, as well as smaller drops in National Grid (LON:NG), and Unilever (LON:ULVR).

Of course, I will let you know as soon as I can in another trading update if I do manage to make any more trades .

What have you guys been buying during June?


  1. M,

    It seems we’ve both been away from our blogs the past few weeks. Sorry to hear you got sick twice in such a short time!

    Thank you for mentioning the cycling scheme we Belgians have! I think it’s a great policy to promote healthy commuting and overall reduce the massive traffic problems we’re having over here. Too bad many people can’t see the benefits.

    Regarding the trades: RDSB is ridiculously cheap at the moment. Even though it’s a rather large portion of my portfolio already, I’m tempted to pull the trigger again. Same goes for NG, which went down significantly after my purchase. And then, of course, there’s BHP Billition… 🙂

    No More Waffles recently posted…The Definition of InsanityMy Profile

    1. No problem. I love the scheme and I wish we could do one like that here too, maybe in combination with the discounted bike purchase scheme we have.

      I agree on RDSB – in fact, I bought some more shares recently. I just couldn’t resist the price hovering around £18/share with such a high yield and excellent dividend record, who wouldn’t want to buy more?! They also just confirmed their next dividend and that of course cause the price to shoot up to ca. £18.50 – I still think that’s cheap and worth loading up on.

      I am wanting to get more NG. too but I’ve never bought BHP Billiton, am considering it though.


  2. Hey M – glad to see an update! Looks like you’re just having a blast this summer: hence the away from the internet bit. I can totally relate – it’s just been too much fun this summer to be spending too much time online. Looking forward to more of your writings when you are back in the swing of things!
    Kapitalust recently posted…Obscure Financial Knowledge Jeopardy: Play NowMy Profile

    1. Hey Steve, you are totally right. Apart from being ill, this summer has been great, and I see you have also been having a great time!


  3. Hi M

    Good to see you back and thanks for the mention.

    Glad to hear that you had a great holiday but sorry to hear that you caught a bug on the plane – that’s happened to me on many occasions but I managed to come back from my own trip bug-free!

    With the markets still down, it’s a great opportunity to pick up shares at lower prices, although I’m not going to have the cash available to buy until next month, by which time, the market may have totally recovered.

    Or maybe not, depending on what happens with the latest round of talks in Greece.
    weenie recently posted…June 2015 savings, plus other updatesMy Profile

    1. Hey Weenie,

      Great to have you back and loved your recent update to the goals. The markets have recovered quite a lot since the problems with Greece were at their worst last week and the week before… sadly I too did not have any spare capital to invest, other than a slight expansion to a planned purchase to top-up an existing holding. RDSB was even trading at below £18/share – unbelievable! Also BAE Systems was down significantly, but has largely recovered now, so the opportunity is basically gone.

      Oh well, I am sure there will be more volatility in the coming months as things are shaken and further reforms to various financial arenas will be taking place. This might be a good time to save up a bit of spare cash and keep it handy for forthcoming dips in things on our watchlists?


        1. Yes! I’m really looking forward to the past about the monkey shares, especially what you end up choosing as a “strategy” if we could call it that?!

  4. You’re back, M! Great to hear from you. Sorry to hear you had a spate of illness. It is horrible when it does not give you time to recover before hitting you again. Glad you enjoyed Germany as well. I have not been there for several years now.

    You’re purchases seem sound to me. I was tempted by RDSB again. They have just dropped so much! I may still top up on them at some point. Like you, I have been sitting on a hefty capital gains loss. However, that has meant that the last dividend payment earned me an extra share! Happy outcome indeed!

    Direct Line also looks good. I generally avoid that sort of car/home insurance company. That being said, I have looked to top up my Old Mutual and Legal & General holdings. However, as you noticed on my blog (thanks for the mention btw) I have topped up WPP and added a new position in Stock Spirits. Yesterday I also bulked up my AstraZeneca holding. I have yet to write this up though.

    Keep well and keep up the good work!
    Dividend Drive recently posted…June 2015: Dividend Income, Trading Activity and Portfolio SnapshotMy Profile

    1. Hey D2, thanks for the kind words.

      It’s great that quality companies like RDSB and the like have been overtly knocked by Greece on top of depressed commodities prices – more bargains and free shares for us, woohoo! As Warren Buffet said, it’s a good thing when you get extended depressed prices on quality stocks, because (as long as you’ve got the capital) you can pick up great bargains.

      I read your posts on Stock Spirits and your other posts whilst I was sick. You’ve done some pretty good stuff recently! Keep up the good work,


    1. Hey UTMT,

      Thanks for stopping by. I do hope it will continue to be a great stock. I only didn’t invest in the past due to my general rule on looking to stocks with 7+ years of growing dividend history. But since I do occasionally break that rule for things like National Grid or a smaller-cap growth stock, then I thought to myself ‘it’s probably worth it’, especially as I don’t have so much invested in the insurance sector.


  5. Hi there TV,
    Good to see that you recovered! I see you hold National Grid, what is your take on this company? Of course since you have the stock it cannot be THAT bad… 🙂
    They are on my radar too, although i have decided to freeze things a little till Greece-mess comes to a calmer position…

    Thanks and Ciao!


    1. Ciao Stalflare!

      Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your positive words. National Grid (LON:NG.) is one of those solid stocks that always seems to be worth having, because it’s an essential and irreplaceable infrastructure stock. It won’t really grow, and I don’t expect the price to waver much outside of £8-£10 ever, but it rewards us with consistent dividends. The only real threat I see with this stock is government meddling into the utilities sector, which would be annoying, but I feel it is unlikely to ruin a stock like NG.

      What do you think about it?


      1. I agree with you, M.

        NG looks a nice solid stock. It has not overwhelmingly surprised me it has slipped down to c.£8 again. With the possibility of interest rate hikes coming soonish I suspect they will struggle to test the share price heights of the last few months for a little while. Their debt–although generous in interest rate–is pretty massiev even for a utility.

        I am tempted to add more. However, I think I will wait until the direction of interest rates has become clearer both in the US and UK.

        We will have to wait and see!
        Dividend Drive recently posted…June 2015: Dividend Income, Trading Activity and Portfolio SnapshotMy Profile

        1. Very wise, very wise. They do have mega debt, but I’m not too worried about that – anything with that level of infrastructure tends to run high debt, but the returns are so dependable, whether the interest rates go up or down. I think the US is more of a problem, although speaking of debt, Obama hasn’t exactly attacked the deficit like we have!


          1. To be honest, it does not overly worry me as I know they can service it. However, I think sentiment to them from investors might soften a little when interest rates rise. Be nice to top up then. Although at current prices I’d be more than happy to fatten up my holding (though, I must admit, today I opened a new position in Rolls Royce instead…another thing to write-up!)

            Also, of course “risk free” assets will be more attractive which draws investors away from bond-like companies like utilities.

            We can’t really know though. In the meantime you get a secure 5%+ yield. Not bad at all!
            Dividend Drive recently posted…BUY: AstraZeneca–Further into Pharma?My Profile

          2. Is there such a thing as a risk-free asset?! Lol, but definitely agree with you – a pretty safe, fat yield, and currently going fur pretty cheap prices, making NG even better value. Looking forward to your RR write up!


  6. Good to hear from you after a long time. Sorry to hear that you fell sick twice after you returned from vacation.

    Some good buys there…theres definitely some good opportunities showing up in teh EU market because of the ongoing Greek debacle. June has been a busy one for me – managed to add some shares to my portfolio in VTR, BNS and JNJ. Hoping to put some more cash to work in July.

    Roadmap2Retire recently posted…Chatter Around the World – 102My Profile

    1. Hi R2R,

      Thanks for your kind words. I was really tempted with JNJ, but I just hate the fact that we’re taxed 30% and then have to reclaim 15% on US stocks. It just unnecessarily lessens the yields we can expect, unless we invest in a retirement account and then it is tax-free. BNS is also a great stock too, gotta love that conservative Canadian banking sector – it’s always throwing up winners.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge