It has been quite some time since I had an investing post (over a year to be exact). Using the Google In-Page Analytics tool helped me discover that the menus of investing, money and career got the most clicks, with investing being at the top. One of my most popular posts was an collaboration post with female personal finance bloggers about investing.
So henceforth, I will try to have more posts on investing and share with you what I’m learning and trying to do for my own portfolio. I should note that this post is not meant to give you any type of investing advice, but more so to share my investment choices with the readers are interested in this category. I’m still learning. 🙂
So let’s recap what stocks and what ETF(s) I currently have or had:
Canadian National Railway (CNR)
Royal Bank (RY)
Ali Baba (BABA)- Despite losing money on this one (I purchased it during the IPO), I have decided to hold on to it for a bit longer.
Blackberry (BB) – I had long gotten rid of this. In the end, I decided I wasn’t willing to wait and hang on to it for the long term. I am hoping it doesn’t bite me in the you know where.
iShares S&P TSX Capped REIT Index Fund (XRE) – I would eventually want to own rental property, but for now having an REIT enables me to get a small piece of the real estate pie. The Rio-Can REIT is a holding in this fund. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Rio-Can, it is Canada’s largest real estate investment trusts. They own retail properties in both the U.S and Canada. You’ve seen their name on signs of major shopping malls, big box shopping centres and other types of retail spaces.
In my previous post about my stock picks, I had mentioned that I had considered to be slightly diversified- but the more I looked it over, the more I felt that my portfolio really wasn’t that diversified to be begin with. It’s not bad, but it could be better. You can say that there is a bit of variety within the sectors though- I’ve got financial, consumer goods, telecommunications, railway and e-commerce. However, the majority of them are Canadian equities. After having taken my investing course, I learned that the Canadian market is rather narrow and more focused on financials and resources. I did end up adding a few more Canadian stocks such as Fortis (FTS) and Brookfield Asset Management later on that year.
I chose Fortis because it’s a utility stock that provides gas and electricity. Utility stocks are rather robust and can ride the waves of the economic cycles. People will always need gas, water and electricity-hence there will always be a demand for it regardless of whether or not we are in a recession. Not only that, but Fortis is a dividend paying stock that has increased its dividend for the past 40 years. You can see a chart of their dividend history here. Although it is a Canadian company, Fortis not only serves Canada, but the U.S. and Caribbean as well.
I chose Brookfield Asset Management because the ticker symbol reminder me of what celebrity chef Emeril Lagassi would say:
Just kidding. That had absolutely nothing to do with why I chose Brookfield Asset Management. With the exception of Ali Baba, all the stocks I own are dividend paying stocks. The fact that Brookfield Asset Management also paid out dividends was one reason for buying them. An article over at the Motley Fool describes the reasons why this company is a good buy. Since they own and operate various assets such as property and renewable energy, I think this helps add provide more diversification for my portfolio.
Last year, I added a couple more ETFs to the portfolio. For more exposure to international equities, I purchased BMO MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF (ZEM). The top 3 countries where this ETF gives exposure to are China, South Korea and Taiwan. There is also exposure to countries such as India, Mexico and Brazil. The major sector allocations are financials, information technology and consumer discretionary (businesses that sell non-essential goods and services).
Rather than trying to do research on individual U.S. stocks, I thought it would be in my best interest to purchase an ETF containing US stocks. I selected the U.S. Total Market Index ETF (VUN) from Vanguard Canada. The low MER at 0.15% makes it attractive. The top three sectors this fund invests in is Financials, Technology and Health Care and includes big names such as Apple, General Electric and Amazon.
Part II will contain what ETFs I have purchased so far this year.
What stocks or ETFs have you recently purchased? What are you planning to purchase?