Monday, 30 May 2016

The Maestro's Movers: Neil Woodford's Big Buys and Sells in April 2016

Stock stalking is a weird hobby.

In general I do not "follow" any particular investor's activities. However, there are a couple that I have followed of sorts because I like their investment style. One of them is Neil Woodford

I watch Woodford's fund quite carefully to get some ideas. In particular, doing this with Woodford is comparatively easy as--I am sure many of you know this--he publishes the entire breakdown of his fund each month. Very unusual, but also very interesting.

Since launch I have been assiduously collecting this data and building a little spreadsheet to see how things are changing. I've realised that this work--which is not a tiny amount--may be of interest to some of you.

So here I will offer a little breakdown of the companies that Woodford has bought and sold in April 2016.


First, a little on my methodology. Woodford provides two bits of information each month which I use for this:
  1. The total value of all the assets in his fund (this month, £8.66 billion);
  2. The percentage weight each company has within the fund.
Using this information, I do a couple of things:
  1. Work out the value of the company holding (dividing the fund size by the company's weight)
  2. Using the share price on the day the snapshot of the fund was taken, I work out how many shares (approximately) Woodford holds in the company.
Now this provides an estimate of his shareholding in each company from month to month. It can then be used to work out what his big movers were during the month.

This is where it may be interesting to you.

Woodford's Big Buys in April

So what companies has Woodford been buying into?

Well, here is a list--according to my estimates--of listed companies that he increased his shareholding in by 3% or more. Those in bold were not in last months list of big buys. Those in italics were in last months big sells last month:

6Brave BisonLON:BBSN27.25%
10Midatech PharmaLON:MTPH12.89%
11Legal & GeneralLON:LGEN12.30%
12Provident FinancialLON:PFG11.45%
13Tissue RegenixLON:TRX9.88%
18BAE SystemsLON:BA6.57%
19NewRiver RetailLON:NRR5.96%
20Theravance BiopharmaNASDAQ:TBPH5.47%
22British American TobaccoLON:BATS4.86%
24Imperial InnovationsLON:IVO4.27%
26Game DigitalLON:GMD3.89%
29Phoenix Spree DeutschlandLON:PSDL3.45%
* New position altogether.

Woodford's Big Sells in April

So what companies has Woodford been dropping?

Again, this is a list of those which have dropped at least 3% or more. Those in bold were not in last months list of big sells. Those in italics were in last months big buys last month:

2Halosource Reg SLON:HALO-8.00%
4RM2 InternationalLON:RM2-3.80%
6Oakley CapitalLON:OCL-3.58%
7Reynolds AmericanNYSE:RAI-3.27%

Interesting Points

Interestingly, Woodford continues to beef up his position in insurer, Legal & General. I recently upped my own stake in the company. He has lifted his holding 10%, 14.6% and now another 12.3% since February.

Another repeat of March was a further 16.8% leap in his Capita holding. Last month it was also up 10%. I can fully understand this. The outsourcer has caught my eye for some time. Yet recently its share price has been quite weak (even dipping below 1000p for the first time in some while). Capita had fallen off my radar recently. But it has become of interest once more with its softer valuation.

Woodford also continued to reverse (even if modestly) out of his Reynolds American position. It is hard to argue this is due to a sustained move from tobacco, however. He also lifted his British American Tobacco holding.

Shareholding services company, Equiniti is both a new addition and a new listing. I've looked into the company a little and can't quite see its appeal as yet. I plan to investigate further. With exposure to the share registrar business through Capita, I can see Woodford obviously finds this area appealing. I'd need a little more persuading with Equiniti at the moment, however.

Some Caveats

Obviously, as with everything on this site, this list is not meant to be advice on what to buy (or sell). Also, these figures are all created from different levels of estimated data. 

The weightings are rounded as is the fund value. Share holdings are therefore estimations rather than certain figures and--as a consequence--my calculations on their changes are not supposed to be seen as 100% accurate. Of course, at this final stage (that is, the write-up) there is also an additional rounding of the percentage changes.

Also, because of the way I collate the data it does mean that full sales of holdings will likely be missed. If you notice any, give me a heads up in the comments section below.

Finally, remember this is an open-ended fund and so has cash flowing in and out of it constantly. As a result, for those companies Woodford particularly favours--if he wishes to keep them at a similar weighting--then each month would show a growth in his shareholding in them. what this means for the true nature of the purchase (confidence, consistency, or whatever) is up to you!

As usual, Do Your Own Research (DYOR)!

What do you think?

What do you think of some of Woodford's big movers? Did you make similar purchases/sells in April? Has the list got you thinking about any of the companies listed?

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[Image reproduced from Woodford Investment Management]

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this DD, always good to see what Woodford is doing!