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Stock Picking for Profit & Successful Stock Picking Strategies

By Simon Thompson


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Stock Picking for Profit


The holy grail of investing is to be able to beat the market. Many market experts have tried, but very few have succeeded over the long-run. So it’s well worth taking note when someone not only manages to produce enviable results, but consistently too.


Simon Thompson has an outstanding record of stock picking. His 2012 annual bargain shares portfolio in Investors Chronicle produced a total return of 31.9 per cent, only marginally behind the return on Fidelity UK Smaller Caps Fund, the best-performing small-cap fund. In the final quarter of 2012, the 24 recommendations Simon made on shares, indices and traded options in Investors Chronicle produced an average gain of 16.6 per cent by mid-January 2013.


The advice to magazine readers to buy the UK housebuilding sector at the start of 2013 also proved an astute call: the sector rallied over 20 per cent in the following three months. Simon also follows overseas financial markets. His portfolio of US stocks increased in value by 19.4 per cent on an offer-to-bid basis between the end of September 2012 and late January 2013, handsomely rewarding readers who followed his advice.


In Stock Picking for Profit, Simon Thompson reveals in 20 detailed chapters the investment techniques he employs that have produced substantial financial gains for investors following his share recommendations in Investors Chronicle. In no fewer than 32 case studies, Simon provides a step-by-step guide to explain the rationale for making these winning investments and outlines the key lessons to learn so that you too can implement exactly the same techniques in your own stock picking.


Stock Picking for Profit is a book that offers the opportunity to learn valuable lessons from one of the most knowledgeable financial experts in the London stock markets.


“Long experience teaches me that there is no single magic approach to stock picking. Different techniques or valuation methods have different odds of success at different points in the stock market cycle. Stock Picking for Profit describes how a skilled stock picker performs his magic as market conditions change. It is an invaluable tool for investors seeking to improve their own performance.”

David Schwartz

Stock market historian and Financial Times columnist of the acclaimed Trader’s Diary 


Extract from the Introduction to Stock Picking for Profit

“It is fair to say that my investment style is that of a classic value investor. I look for companies being valued well below net asset value or where the sum-of-the-parts valuations reveal hidden value. But you have to know what to look out for to pick out the winners from the losers.


Another benefit of my balance-sheet-based approach to stock picking is that it uncovers investment opportunities that are also potential bid targets. In a chapter dedicated to Takeover targets and merger arbitrage, I reveal what to look for in bid targets and show how to play the merger arbitrage game profitably.


Ultimately, it doesn't matter how lowly valued a company is, you need a spark for the share price to re-rate. That’s why it pays to know the important signals to look out for to identify early stage recovery plays. Moreover, when a company’s operational performance starts to gain momentum, significant gains can be made by riding on the coattails of an earnings upgrade cycle, but only if you know the tell-tale signs.”


Contents of Stock Picking for Profit

Chapter   1          20 golden rules to profitable stock picking

Chapter   2          Cash is king

Chapter   3          Balance sheet strength

Chapter   4          Capitalising on capital returns

Chapter   5          Sum-of-the-parts valuations

Chapter   6          Takeover targets and merger arbitrage

Chapter   7          Tell-tale signs of recovery plays

Chapter   8          Riding ‘earnings upgrade cycles’

Chapter   9          Follow the leader - director share deals 

Chapter 10          Technical analysis

Chapter 11          Assessing risk

Chapter 12          Market trends

Chapter 13          Small cap marvels

Chapter 14          Contrarian investing

Chapter 15          Bargain shares

Chapter 16          Portfolio management

Chapter 17          Quantitative easing

Chapter 18          Inflation

Chapter 19          Stock picking like Warren Buffett

Chapter 20          Top 20 tips to successful investing


Successful Stock Picking Strategies


Simon Thompson has an outstanding record of stock picking. His 2012 annual Bargain Shares Portfolio in Investors Chronicle produced a total return of 31.9 per cent, only slightly behind the return on Fidelity UK Smaller Caps Fund, the best-performing small-cap fund. It was no fluke as the following year Simon’s annual portfolio of small-cap picks performed even better, producing a total return of 36.4 per cent, massively outperforming the 10 per cent return on a FTSE All-share index tracker fund.

In more recent years, his 2016 Bargain Shares Portfolio increased in value by 46 per cent over two years; and his 2017 Bargain Shares Portfolio shot up by 30 per cent in only 12 months.

Simon Thompson reveals the investment techniques he employs and which have produced substantial gains for investors following his share recommendations in Investors Chronicle. In no fewer than 26 comprehensive case studies, Simon provides a step-by-step guide behind the rationale for making these winning investments and outlines key stock picking strategies so that you too can follow the same techniques.

Simon Thompson was awarded the prestigious Small Cap Journalist of the Year Award at The Small Cap Awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016.


From Simon Thompson, the author of Successful Stock Picking Strategies

When I decided to write Successful Stock Picking Strategies my objective was simple: to write a book that shows how to successfully invest in equities by shrewdly picking shares using a number of tested investment techniques and strategies I have developed over the years. That’s why I have highlighted 26 detailed case studies and outlined the key lessons to learn from each one so that you can implement the same techniques in your own stock picking.

The book includes the screening criteria I use for investments in new technology, a fertile hunting ground. Riding off the coat-tails of companies that are transforming the way we live and work can prove a very profitable investment strategy. In fact, the share price of Blue Prism, a technology company I highlighted in the summer of 2016 surged by over 1,400 per cent by the end of last year.

I also reveal the stock screens I use in the areas of contrarian investing, and a high-yield stock screen I have adapted to seek out undervalued income-producing shares with earnings momentum. The share price gains can be significant, but only if you know what to look for to screen out these stock market treasures.

It always pays to understand how a company generates its cash profits and cash flow. That’s why I have dedicated a chapter to showing the importance of enterprise valuations, and why I focus on companies that are likely to repay their debt obligations quickly, thus transferring more of the value in the business from debt holders to equity holders. And where this debt repayment coincides with an improved operational performance, there is potential for earnings multiple expansion given the reduced financial risk. The returns can be dramatic.

Understanding the concept of operational gearing is important too. This means that as soon as a company’s revenues cover its fixed cost base, then profits will start to accelerate thereafter as a greater amount of incremental sales fall straight to the bottom line. The aim is to identify businesses that have reached this inflexion point, or are about too, with the risk to sales forecasts firmly to the upside. This creates a strong tailwind for operating margins to drive earnings upgrades, as I illustrate in the book.

Corporate activity has been a continuing theme among the small-cap companies I follow. In fact, no fewer than 21 of my buy recommendations have exited the London stock market in the past four years. It’s no coincidence that they exhibited specific characteristics. I have played the initial public offering (IPO) market successfully during the bull market too, which is why I detail the criteria I am looking for to improve the odds of buying into the best new issues.

I believe Successful Stock Picking Strategies is a unique publication in that the investment techniques highlighted have generated significant returns for loyal readers of Investors Chronicle who have followed my share recommendations. By detailing the investment analysis that went into each one, and showing you how to carry out the analysis yourself, Successful Stock Picking Strategies is a book that offers the opportunity to learn from my knowledge of companies and financial markets and improve your chances of success as a stock picker.

That’s why I have dedicated a whole chapter to the red flags I look for to mitigate the risk of making a poor investment decision, and offer an insight into some of the techniques I use to improve investment returns. Other chapters include how to uncover price-to-book value bargains, profiting from companies on the acquisition trail, and how to profit from earnings upcycles.


Contents of Successful Stock Picking Strategies

Chapter 1             Top 10 tips to successful investing

Chapter 2             Red flags

Chapter 3             Exploiting enterprise valuations

Chapter 4             Understand earn-outs

Chapter 5             Profit from Initial Public Offerings

Chapter 6             Embrace new technology

Chapter 7             Profit from corporate activity

Chapter 8             Price-to-book value bargains

Chapter 9             Uncovering hidden value

Chapter 10           Riding earnings momentum

Chapter 11           Stock screening for profit

Chapter 12           Profit from operational gearing

Chapter 13           The Holy Grail

Chapter 14           High yield earnings momentum stock screen

Chapter 15           Improving financial returns


 

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