Excel Stock Portfolio Analysis Tool

portfolio Excel Stock Portfolio Analysis ToolI had the opportunity recently to take a computational investment course through coursera. The course introduced me to a few concepts of portfolio analysis. I love looking at data so I made an excel sheet to bring it together. The sheet takes as inputs everything in green, namely the stock ticker and the number of shares purchased and the date of first purchase. After you key that data press the update button and it will pull down all of the raw stock data from yahoo and calculate sharpe ratio, beta, treynor, jensen alpha, and a few other things onto the excel sheet. No need for plugins just some vb script shared in the sheet.

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Insider Trading Sell Offs Are Risky

risk 200x200 Insider Trading Sell Offs Are RiskyIn my experience, no one will work harder for you than someone who has a vested interest in your success. Sales people have know this for years, if you incentivize, smart people will find ways to win. This is why internal ownership at a company is something I look for (see an overview of my investment filters).

Risk Grades Review: They’re Grrrrrre… Good

tony the tiger lg 200x200 Risk Grades Review: Theyre Grrrrrre... GoodWhile watching a TV program earlier this week I happened to catch mention of a free portfolio assessment tool called Risk Grades. Being that I like free stuff I was intrigued enough to go take a look and write up this review.

With a background in software development I can sniff out an abandoned site pretty quick and risk grades certainly feels massively undermanned or out right abandoned. Upon signing up the system tells me I should expect a validation email, and yet I am able to login directly to the site. there are also a few spelling mistakes and as I browse the site, and  a few graphs really need some polish- but hey let’s remember this site is free so if it is actively being worked on shouldn’t matter too much as long as it works.

the message is the Message

monkey thinker 200x200 the message is the MessageMy wife reminds me all the time- language is important. The exact words you use in business or in social contexts can be as important as the content you are attempting to convey. Let me give you this example. I go to a certain unnamed Toronto bank’s website interested in opening a new savings account. At the top of page I see this:

td the message is the Message

Apply?  As in I need to seek out your permission, as in you might reject my application? As in you don’t want to take my money?  Ok maybe I am being a bit sensitive but hey let’s look at the competition.

Stock and… Cheese?

Cheese 200x200 Stock and... Cheese?BNN is traditionally a channel for day traders- the what is hot today conversations often litter the broadcast. If you have been a reader of my blog it is needless to say this channel therefore doesn’t normally interest me. While flipping around the TV the other night I accidentally landed on BNN which was showing an episode of the series Stock and Awe as it differs from their normal format of stock “experts” and speculation I paused to give it a watch.

Finding a Financial Advisor

goodbye 200x200 Finding a Financial Advisor

“Thanks for coming in today. I should let you know, the only reason I am taking this meeting is because you are good friends with Jim who is one of our most valued customers.”

I reached over the table shook her hand, thanked her for her time and left immediately.  This was an encounter I had with a financial adviser about 8 years ago when I was just finishing University. I wouldn’t then, and still won’t, ever do business with someone who opens this way. The message she was trying to send was, I am very good at my job, and normally handle portfolios much larger than yours.  Unfortunately, what I heard was:

Book Review: Standard & Poor’s 500 Guide

SPjpg 200x200 Book Review: Standard & Poors 500 GuideAs somewhat of a contrarian investor I have gone on record in the past about the habit of some, otherwise intelligent investors, taking an analyst’s recommendation of a stock as gospel. Too often I feel there is a blind allegiance to following analyst’s opinions.

My opinion in these matters  should not be taken to mean that I see no value whatsoever in analysts- though I can see why I have that reputation. Quite the contrary, just like a neighbor or fellow investor I am often willing to listen to their perspective. The trick is to be willing to disagree with the viewpoint regardless of the source- if the facts don’t support the argument then out with the argument.

Successful Investing

money Successful InvestingIf you want to be successful with investing you have to have some money to invest- sorry, no way around it. Logically there are only two ways to solve that problem either increase your top line and bring in more income or decrease your bottom line and find some ways to squeeze dollars out.

The first place I look at when it comes to the bottom line are fees. I hate fees. Think about it, we gets fees for having a bank account (so you hold my money and I pay you?), fees for your brokerage account, fees for your credit card, fees, fees fees! It is incredible how much money can seep out paying a tiny fee here a tiny fee here. I’ve done some research, here is what I recommend.

Where to start with investing

1 foam finger 200x200 Where to start with investingAn investment policy statement (IPS) is the number one most important piece of paper to have before you start investing, or before you continue investing.  Having this one piece of paper and referring to it often will avoid many of the pitfalls that even the most seasoned investors make.

An investment policy statement is simply a document that describes what your goals are for your money, how long you can part with the funds, what your selection philosophy is, and what sort of risks you are willing to accept.

Running a Household Like a Small Business

Dog Food 200x200 Running a Household Like a Small Business

It sounds cold but really running a house is just like running a business. You probably know that, but do you generate an income statement, balance sheet, and a statement of cash flow? I don’t, but you know what, I should so I am going to start.

Personal finance and personal investing are related, if I do a better job of one then I have the funds to do the other.  I spend so much time analyzing different company’s financial statements maybe I should start eating my own dog food and give my own financial statements the same rigor. On the top line I understand my family’s income and the return from my portfolio but have I taken into account the time value of money? Nope. On the bottom line I understand my family’s expenses but are there opportunities to cut? Dunno.

Back at it

yawn 200x200 Back at itAfter a hiatus it is time to start posting again. We are going to be retooling, and setting a new direction for the site. This site is going to get away from posting stock analysis, there are loads of other sites that do this quite well. Instead we are going to talk about things that interest me that have to do with finance and investing. Not sure what it will be but hope it will appeal to you too! Let’s see where we get to.

Measuring the Economy

containerShip 200x200 Measuring the EconomyIt is very difficult to get a true gauge of the economy, the media is full of pundits and economists who create a dizzying amount of idle speculation. Getting down to brass tax is critical. When evaluating a business as a potential investment I often find myself in similar circumstances- too much information. To get past the noise I find the best thing to do is to focus on the fundamentals. In looking at the overall economy I think a similar approach can be taken.

The Vancouver port is one of the largest on the western sea board.  If you are exporting odds are the product went through this port. If you are importing odds are it came through. If we want to evaluate the overall health of the economy looking how the inbound and how outbound shipments have varied is at the very least an interesting prospect and perhaps can also provide some insight into the overall health of the economy.

Investing in Bp after the Oil Spill

bp logo 200x200 Investing in Bp after the Oil SpillI bought BP shares this past month. In some ways the decision was dead easy, in other ways I must admit that I am still questioning my choice- but not for the regular reasons. Let me explain to you first why it was an easy decision (my rational side) and then lets talk about why it was a tough decision (let’s call it my emotional side).

Waiting for Great Companies

fishing1 003 200x200 Waiting for Great CompaniesI always have a running list of great companies I would buy if they were priced a whole lot differently- my wish list you might say. Being value investors we all spend a lot of time trying to differentiate between garbage and gold. Usually when I am looking at a company it has hit my screens because it is suddenly cheap – my job is to find out if there is a good reason or a bad reason for this, and invest accordingly. This activity can take some time, days, sometimes even weeks. Some opportunities simply don’t last that long though, they can dry up in a matter of a day, an hour or even mere minutes.

Greece Debt Default

greek Greece Debt DefaultGreece is in a bad state, there is no doubt about it. When a country builds up a billion dollars in debt (some estimates are 30% of GDP) and shows no mechanism to repay there is little good that can be said about the circumstance. Without the continued assistance of an EU German backed bailout there is a very good chance Greece will be forced to default on its debt. If you were to believe the general media this is tantamount to the outright failure of the nation which can result in nothing short of the entire country descending into chaos and likely taking the rest of Europe and the West with it.


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Actively Managed ETFs, ETFs, and Mutual Funds

chart1 200x200 Actively Managed ETFs, ETFs, and Mutual FundsA few years back the SEC licensed a new class of ETFs called actively managed ETFs. Being a big fan of the ETF area I thought it would be worth saying a few words about this new class.

ETFs are usually passive investments, some of my favorites are those that model an entire market like the S&P 500 or the S&P TSX. These funds emulate the components of the S&P 500/TSX allowing an investor to gain a diversified exposure to the market at a very very low cost or MER. In these traditional ETFs there isn’t a fund manager making a decision about which stocks to select- which is the chief reason for the low MER.

Reading Buffett’s Letters

buffett 200x200 Reading Buffetts LettersTaking the time to read the time to read Buffett’s letters to shareholders is, in my opinion, the best investment of a few hours a young investor could possibly make. It provides the unusual opportunity get behind the scenes and get a look at the some of the thinking that goes into some of Berkshire Hathaway’s largest buys and sells. It also provides the opportunity to learn from the mistakes made by one investor in the hopes that you won’t repeat them in your own investing experiences.

Interesting Links

links 200x200 Interesting Links
For your reading pleasure a few interesting articles from around the globe about dividends, stocks, the market and other just plain interesting finance or economic oriented articles- enjoy!

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