In the end, numbers are just numbers and while they are an indispensable part of an investor’s self-assessment, they do not always reveal the full details. For example, my last month closed with a negligible loss but the truth is, I started the month notably down after two profit warnings on the last day of April. In retrospect, it was a pleasing month and I think there are some useful conclusions to be drawn from it.
For the record, I’m down 2% for the quarter but up nearly 34% on a yearly basis. Readers can access previous write-ups here. April was a bad month for me, and much of that under-performance can be traced to decisions made in February, of which the articles linked below solely pertain.
Buy or sell when in doubt?
One of the hardest questions for any investor to deal with relates to what to do when you see short-term earnings risk but long-term value in a stock? If you sell out in anticipation the stock could easily fly away from your estimate of ‘fair value’ if it delivers a decent set of results. However, if it warns, you are delivered with a good buying opportunity.
Moreover, if you do decide to hold over the results and the company lowers and misses guidance, do you buy more or dump the stock? Frankly, I think the answer to the last question depends on your view of why the company missed.
For example, plenty of tech stocks missed in the last earnings season and I’ve argued here this is could be a good chance to start picking some up. The market is bidding up other sectors in anticipation of a resumption to growth in the second half, so why won’t technology take part in this growth? Indeed, many of the statements of the leading tech companies (International Business Machines Corp (NASDAQ:IBM), Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL), etc.) specifically cite short-term hesitation (caused by sequestration fears) by customers in closing deals but at the same time, growing pipelines.
The usual format below with links to the articles discussed. All of them are from February and performance numbers are from the day they were originally published on the Motley Fool.
|View||Company+Article Link||Performance Since Article|
|Buy||Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS)||-13.2%|
|Positive||Robert Half International||-1.1%|
|Evaluation||Sherwin Williams (NYSE:SHW)||13.6%|
|Evaluation||Colgate Palmolive (NYSE:CL)||5.4%|
|Evaluation||Beacon Roofing Supply||6.7%|
It is a story of tech weakness and a conglomeration of the sort of factors that can gang up and assault the innocent investor. Intuit Inc.(NASDAQ:INTU) managed to report a weak tax return season and REGAL-BELOIT CORPORATION(NYSE:RBC) managed to lose a key customer and warn that the commercial construction market wasn’t as strong as it had previously expected. Ixia (NASDAQ:XXIA) disclosed some accounting errors and then gave a (somewhat expected) disappointing earnings report. I bought some Fortinet Inc (NASDAQ:FTNT) after the warning, having been cautious over not holding too much tech going into the earnings season.