View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/money/article/a585695
Diary of a Dumb Investor: Call me Mitt Romney
I’ve just bought shares on the cheap in RIT Capital Partners, Lord Rothschild’s investment trust, and am feeling pretty pleased with myself.
We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly! – yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost for ever
That’s some Percy Bysshe Shelley for anyone out there who’s not a Romantics buff, or didn’t spend their time at uni weeping into poetry books. It’s from a poem called Mutability – a word that describes my behaviour as an investor of late.
My recent moves have been, in order of execution: buying BP (BP.L) shares; shorting France with a leveraged exchange traded fund (ETF); and buying shares in Lord Rothschild’s investment trust, RIT Capital Partners .
Now although I admit I’ve been inconsistent in my strategy, there has been an underlying logic to the positions along the way. BP was a hedge against rising oil prices and a possible war in the Middle East; the ETF was a bet – that paid off – on Sarkozy falling back in the French election; and the trust, well, I’ll come to that in a bit.
Still, it is fair to brand me a quivering cloud, like in the poem, or a flip-flopping Etch a Sketch like the US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney – or so his opponents would have us believe.
Romney, a former private equity mogul with great hair, has been accused of moulding his principles to fit his political goals, erasing previous positions much like the mechanical drawing toy that children shake for the image to vanish.
Were it to be true, some would call such conduct fickle; I see it as pragmatic. And I can certainly identify with it, having dumped a load of my holdings at the beginning of the year (most of my best stuff) in an unfortunately timed bid to start 2012 with a blank slate.
Now, while that was foolish – it really irks me to see how much Afren (AFRE.L) and Jupiter European Opportunities have rallied since I exited – my latest piece of flip floppery is rather clever, I think.
Last week, I said I wanted to short someone else, after my punt against the French worked out so well. But while casting my eye about for an another instrument as esoteric as the ETF to buy, I noticed the Rothschild trust in a news story about the sale of some privately held oil company, from which it should make about £72 million.
Where I stood on Monday: Click to enlarge
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