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Reviewing Portfolio Performance Over the Past Decade

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·4 min read
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- By Rupert Hargreaves

I spend a lot of time writing about why it's essential to have a long-term mentality and outlook when investing. This is something I have made a lot of effort to build into my own investment mentality over the past several years.

I recently stumbled across an old brokerage account statement from 2012. It showed the holdings (which are long since gone) that I owned nearly 10 years ago when my strategy was very different from the one I used today.

It's very easy to say that the best way to make lots of money is to buy and hold high-quality businesses. Unfortunately, it's tough to find these businesses. And if one ends up buying and holding low-quality companies, the results can be disastrous.

This is probably the most prominent challenge investors face. Finding good businesses is tricky. Holding on is just as hard.

With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at my old holdings and see how they would have performed had I left the investment account alone for the past nine years.

Reviewing performance

For the avoidance of doubt, I no longer hold positions in any of the companies listed. What's more, this was only a section of my investment portfolio at the time. These were not the only investments I owned. It was just one account devoted to U.S. securities only.

I am using 10-year returns for all companies to simplify things rather than adjust the figures based on acquisition and disposal dates. This means I'll be looking at returns from the end of March 2011 to March 2021. These figures are only designed to provide a rough guide of performance.

The companies listed on my brokerage statement at the end of 2012 were:

  1. Joy Global

  2. HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC)

  3. Ternium ADR (NYSE:TX)

  4. Altria (NYSE:MO)

  5. Lorillard

  6. PBF Energy (NYSE:PBF)

Of these, two have been acquired.

In 2015, tobacco producer Reynolds American acquired Lorillard in a $27.4 billion deal. Lorillard shareholders received for each Lorillard share $50.50 in cash and 0.2909 of a share in Reynolds stock, a price equivalent to $68.88 at the time of closing.

The stock produced an average annualized total return of around 25% in the four years before the takeover, turning an investment of $10,000 into $24,414.

At the beginning of April 2017, Komatsu America Corp., a subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd. (TYO: 6301), completed its acquisition of Joy Global Inc. in a $3.7 billion acquisition. The deal was announced in 2016, and over the previous five years to 2011, the stock produced a total return of -16.2% per annum.

For every $10,000 invested, the final figure was $4,132.

For the other for investments, the 10-year annualized total returns were as follows:

  • HollyFrontier: 6%

  • Ternium ADR: 2.6%

  • Altria: 11.4%

  • PBF Energy: -8%

Based on these returns, my figures show an equally weighted portfolio of these stocks would have returned 4.5% per annum over the past decade. That's assuming no reinvestment of the money from the acquisitions and excludes all fees. It also assumes dividends were reinvested in the respective companies.

My historic brokerage statement shows the portfolio was not equally weighted. I had around 35% of assets in Altria, 24% in Lorillard, 11% in Ternium, 9% in Joy and the final 21% was split between PBF and HollyFrontier. My figures show the portfolio would have yielded a compounded annual growth rate of 7.3% over the past decade based on these weightings.

This is not a market-beating return, but at the same time, it is not terrible either, especially considering the fact no effort would have gone into managing the portfolio over this time.

What's notable is the fact that while two positions lost money and Ternium broke even, the big hitters, Altria and Lorillard, picked up the slack. Also, the performance of all positions would have been significantly worse if it had not been for dividends.

For thought, that's for sure.

Disclosure: The author owns no stocks mentioned.

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This article first appeared on GuruFocus.