Model Portfolios Updated

Thanks in part to my special report on Benitec the BTEBY share is now showing a gain. The Down Under management is a bit overwhelmed by the trigger-happy US market but they are quick learners. They set up three investor days, in San Francisco, Boston, and New York in order to get their message to shareholders. I attended the NYC session and learned heaps.

Note that a 50% rise in a share price after a 50% fall, still leaves us behind, for example with Abengoa, ABGB. So the sequels to an investor relations disaster can persist even if the mistakes have been cleared up. We are dealing with a "green" Spanish company, green in all senses meaning also inexperienced. I think this makes the share a better buy than stocks which massage their shareholders and analysts more actively. This share was picked by Frida Ghitis, who covers Latin America and sometimes Europe or the Middle East when she is travelling.

Things are a bit better with Allianz Versicherung, which also had an IR disaster over the exit from its Pimco sub of rainmaker Bill Gross, timed for late enough on a Fridaythat the Germans had all left for the weekend. Gross was due to be sacked on Monday and jumped the gun to wreak havoc. AZSEF has now recovered its aplomb, but it took a while. I jumped on board too soon.

Still to come, I hope, is the recuperation of Portugal Telecom which crashed after it lost $1bn placed with an offshore Luxembourg parent and sub of Portugal's bankrupt Banco Espirito Santo, called Rioforte. There are now 3 bidders for PT, from the US, Angola, and Luxembourg-France. I expect that a higher offer is coming this week perhaps in time for me to give thanks on Thanksgiving, Thursday, a USUS public holiday among other things commemorating the start of Christmas shopping.

Only one of our Hong Kong stocks rose seriously after the link between the former Crown Colony stock exchange and that of Shanghai was activated, thanks in part to one of our former contributors in China. However she did not recommend the share, AIA, the spinoff of its Asia holdings by from the troubled US insurance firm AIG. The main reason it soared is that Chinese insurance firms and other financial stocks are mostly from rent-seeking dinosaurs of the state sector rather than truly enterpreneurial in their operations. So AIA was appealing. Less so but also benefiting from the link is another share that our former contributor also did not select, Tencent Holdings, TCTZF for us.  I wrote both of these shares up myself, despite being a round eye.

We learned about Tencent through its partent, Naspers, the South African media company, NPSNY, tipped by retired US ambassador, Harry Geisel. Since I have hefty media risks already running a newsletter, he had to work hard to convince me, of course always being diplomatic about it. (In case you are wondering, after his first retirement Harry returned to Foggy Bottom again on a special assignment before retiring again and coming back into our reporter group.

NPSNY, despite or because of being run by Afrikaaners, who are outsiders in South Africa by definition, made the transition to emerging markets media first in more northern parts of Africa, and then, brilliantly, in China with Tencent.

A recent article compared the nimble transformation of Naspers with the clunky financial disaster by investing in still more money-losing print newspapers like theBoston Glob as The New York Times did during the same period as Naspers' coup.

Instead of listening to establishment advisors like Wall St. investment banks and Mexican mogul Carlos Slim Helu, "Pinch" Sulzberger (son o f "Punch", the only son of Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger, daughter of founder Adolph Ochs) should have broken the mold. He should have headed for the veldt to think things through on his own, the critical writer remarked. He might even have learned something from some of the people in the NYT newsroom.

Being married to a Times pensioner  I have to agree, and recall that it took three years before our son the chartered financial analyst and I could persuade my husband to sell his Times stock. 

This tirade was triggered by the death of Dick Eder, who headed the Paris NYT bureau during part of our time there. Dick, raised in Argentina and married to an Argentinian, Ester Castro, whom he had met in elementary school, famously interviewed Fidel Castro and undermined the pro-Castro line taken by the newspaper's Latin America star (Herbert Matthews.)

Besides speaking Spanish with the same accent as Che Guevera, pro-business writer and practicing Catholic Dick elegantly and subtly revealed the true goals of the Cuban Revolution. That was in 1964. Dick went on from there to stardom, but always was a mere reporter whom the Times brass didn't listen to.

Disclosure: None

How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience.


Leave a comment to automatically be entered into our contest to win a free Echo Show.