David Kempton: 10 speculative buys as I stay bullish for 2021

I want my money to be global. In my early career as an engineer I had my own offices in Aberdeen, Jeddah and Singapore and my investment portfolio has a similar international focus.

My core holdings of around 20 investment trusts cover the world and alongside these, I run a separate portfolio of around 50 individual stocks for interest, fun and, importantly, profit. This latter collection has just been supplemented by 10 speculative buys after my most recent stock pickers’ lunch, some of them overseas stocks and most with an international focus.

In earlier years it would have been impossible to monitor all these efficiently, but in todays connected world, it is possible to comfortably follow that many shares and with our computer systems, smart phones and Apple watches bringing us live prices, announcements and alerts worldwide 24/7. Intrusive? Maybe, but it’s your choice.

I remain bullish for 2021, but only because markets look ahead, way beyond the potential wreck of Brexit, vaccine false dawns or possible further lockdowns.

Fifteen countries have, this week, formed the world’s largest trading bloc covering a third of global economy, including Australasia but excluding US and India.

It’s potentially transformational after the hit of Covid and I’d suggest some of the excellent China and Asia investment trusts to access the impact. The Trump administration was bad for world trade, but Biden will surely open it up.     

Then there’s the vaccine, which potentially changes everything – it certainly woke the market up. Will we all inoculate and fly for a Caribbean holiday and Hong Kong business, changing our investment focus to hotels and airlines?  It’s a generation thing. I’ll take the vaccine and fly but my daughter won’t, preferring to stay at home with the daily endless drudge of Zoom, TeamUp and LoopUp.

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So to my new buys, all ideas from a regular stock pickers’ lunch, held every month for about 16 investors. Each is given two minutes to present on their stock pick, then must filed the questions which follow.

The lunch is normally held in the back bar of a scruffy London pub, but last week’s lockdown meet was on Zoom. The stocks were of such interest that I bought every one, speculatively in small amounts and with one finger on the ‘sell’ button.

Here’s a brief line on each, together with their proponents at the meeting:

  • Andrew (Devon): Intercede (IGP), identity software developer;
  • Susie (Europe): Pilbara Minerals (PLS.AX), Australian lithium miner;     
  • Jeremy (London): Fonix Mobile (FNX), mobile payments and messaging provider;
  • Philip (Richmond): Volex (VLX), power cords and cables maker;
  • Sally (Tbilisi/London): Augean (AUG), hazardous waste disposal;
  • Panos (Richmond): Verici (VRC), developer of immunodiagnostics for kidneys;
  • Robin (Ludlow): Prosus (PRX.AS), consumer internet conglomerate;
  • Paddy (Surrey): Unity Software (U.N), software platform provider for interactive 3D;   
  • David (Winchester): Nintendo (7974.T), consumer electronics and video games developer;
  • Also generally discussed: Li Auto (LI.O), Chinese electric car manufacturer.

All the stocks are potentially risky, and space precludes more description of these companies but it’s all readily available online.

On the upside, bank rate is 0.1% and unlikely to change soon, there could yet be a Brexit agreement and politics could well shape up. Then the wave of cheap money will probably start 2021 with a strong boost – but, as in all current matters, stay alert. And go global, your money has no boundaries.

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David Kempton is an experienced investor, proprietor of Kempton Holdings and a non-executive director of a number of quoted and private companies including Hawksmoor Investment Management. He may have an interest in any of the investments which he writes about.



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