Profit warnings and stock falls: Should you sell in summer?

Added 8th September 2017

Negative updates and rocky company accounting during quiet summer months should not be a sole signal to sell a stock, according to SVM Asset Management’s Margaret Lawson.

Profit warnings and stock falls: Should you sell in summer?

As the industry gets back to work, she warned negative financial updates issued during the summer should not be people’s single focus despite the lack of other news noise to fill the void.

Lawson, co-manager of SVM’s UK Growth Fund, spoke out after the likes of Neil Woodford suffered enormous losses when shares at Provident Financial collapsed following a profit warning and management overhaul.

WPP's share price also fell in August after releasing lower than expected growth forecasts. 

“Investment managers can’t just look at the finances, they have to look at every bit of its business model and how it’s positioned and how regulation will impact on that,” Lawson said.

“You have got to look at these warnings and think, is it just a short term thing or is it structural?”

Discovering the disruptive business battling with the big FTSE players can also be a way to ensure investments will last in the long-term.

Lawson recommends examining business models and the long-term trends behind a company.

“These businesses are being disrupted, especially in industries like banks and healthcare. You really want these disruptors in your portfolio rather than the established players,” she said.

“The life cycle of the index is becoming shorter and shorter and it is the disruptors that will be around in years to come.

 “A lot of funds are driven by dividends from a few companies on the FTSE and that raises questions for the future. What happens when dividends fall?”

It is possible to do it in a sensible way, ensuring the portfolio is not reliant on the big FTSE names such as Astrazeneca or the big banks, it will spell a more volatility but that is the price to pay, Lawson said.

“The index charts yesterday’s economy, the past winners, and you should not be relying on that to see you through,” she added.

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Louise Hill

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Louise joined Portfolio Adviser in December 2016 as one of the editorial team’s news reporters based in London. Originally from Liverpool, she is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and began her career in 2014 working on local newspapers.

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