Monday, September 20, 2010

Jardine Strategic, the one that got away

Investment and emotions tend to get mixed, ultimately resulting in poor investment decisions. Our experience with Jardine Strategic is a case in point:

We sold the stock in June as the stock floated around new record highs, despite the generally weak market sentiment at the time. Our investment thesis was that market technicals were weak and we were more comfortable holding a larger cash position to capitalise on temporary weakness in the market.

The stock did slump temporarily thereafter, providing a short window of opportunity to re-enter (which we failed to do), and then rocketed out of reach.

What went wrong?

We unfortunately let our emotions get the better of us, and the urge to take profit on a stock in a slumping market was too tempting to resist. We failed to relook our investment thesis for the stock (which was a compelling buy despite being at a record high), and we ended up selling an extremely high-conviction stock idea. We also had no predetermined re-entry target price, which meant that we failed to load up when the stock declined.

A mistake which we will try not to repeat:
  • Never sell higher conviction ideas; always start with the lowest conviction stocks
Even now, we would be hard-pressed to find a compelling alternative to one of the Jardine holding companies, which allow exposure (at a discount still) to their stable of blue-chip franchises. Would we buy the stock at this time? The stock is already one of the best-performing stocks in the STI YTD, and cliched investment mantras relating to chasing hot stocks spring to mind. Patience is a virtue when it comes to investments, and we may prefer to wait for the next crisis (which could be years later!) to time our entry into the stock.

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