Brexit excitements, eh? The merest whiff of some kind of deal and hello a rotation into UK domestic shares such as the banks, the housebuilders and - of course - retail. All good fun and certainly - as I talked about before - this is where most of the value in UK equities is currently.
I have traded shares in Next (NXT) quite well over the last few years but back in September I said that I would not buy them until they fell back to the fifty quid level. That remains my view. However, you may have seen that the supremo of Next - Lord Wolfson of Aspley Guise - has just sold around 10% of his holding in the retailer he has made such a success and raised just over £10 million. Apparently he wants to invest in an 'existing non-retail venture'.
Fair enough...as you cannot say enough positive things about Lord Wolfson's efforts and successes at Next. However any share sale naturally raises questions, especially as - aided by the aforementioned rotation - the shares are kicking around close to a three and a half year high. I have talked before about the Peter Lynch rule of director buying/selling: the only thing that really matters is buying shares with 'cold, hard cash'. It is always striking when a director sells stock but I would view the above sale - despite the magnitude of the receipts - as a trim. What is far more fascinating to me is the timing. If I am a buyer at 50 quid, I guess I am a holder at 60 quid and a seller further north of here. I cannot argue with the edging out of 153,000 shares at £66.05 each after Tuesday’s close.
In short, hello rotation but also hello timing. We live in an active investing world given the range of pressures and excitements out there. I think there is more to come from market rotation but it is not a one-way street as both the big picture and day-to-day business backdrop can change and evolve. The best rule is to look through your portfolio and ask 'would I buy these shares at today's prices?' If the answer is 'no', then start working out whether you should be trimming a few or exiting completely. Now I wonder what that non-retail opportunity the good Lord has identified is?
Filed under: Next, Tom Winnifrith, Nigel Somerville, Woodford, Matt Earl, Eurofins Scientific, Grafton
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