Britain

Another year gone by in a flash…..

Another year gone by in a flash.

Obviously this is written pre election! The end of the year could go horribly wrong with a Corbyn win or a close parliament.

A surprisingly excellent year with some good gains and the main thing is I avoided any absolute stinkers. You'd normally expect one a year but not this one.

I'm on all time highs – though I took over £250,000 out of accounts to pay for school fees and other expenses last year.

Share of the year goes jointly to Safecharge and Entertainment One (LON:ETO). Huge gains from both (over £150,000 in real banked gains). They both got the bids I was after and I feel I got the rewards through sheer patience.

Regarding patience, main gains came from the longer-term holdings. GB Group(LON: GBG) in particular just goes up over time and profits here are well over £100,000. Car tester Ab Dynamics (LON:ABDP) also had a good year. Avon Rubber and XP Power can also take a bow.

Worst share of the year? Probably Synt where my mistake was not to pick up on the warning signs in its sector. I also didn't sell Cine quickly enough. Not too much damage done but I should have avoided the loss and should definitely have sold earlier. However long you've been in this business you will still make mistakes and lose a few quid from time to time. No one can be perfect. It was really a stock pickers year. Good shares went up and bad ones went down. If you didn't cut your losses on the bad ones, some damage could have occurred.

It always amazes me when I see people holding onto shares forever as they keep going down. Read some of the new stories in NT 5 !

It wasn't a year to play the indicies – they were mainly in a tight range.

Onto current trading. I remain cautious of the election so I've got plenty of cash and made sure spreadbet accounts aren't too leveraged. Just in case!

Whatever happens with the election it will be good to get it out of the way.

A Corbyn majority would see most shares slide dramatically. A hung parliament, if a close one with a left wing gang up could see a modest slide. A Tory win should see a bounce, though possibly not for the FTSE.

It's actually hard to know what the index would do right after the result as so many companies are affected by what the pound does.

I've remained cautious then. I'd rather wait and see than do any massive buying before the election. And I've done some more selling to keep the cash balance high. Should the worst happen I have firepower!

I've also maintained the bet on a Lab majority as a cover. In the unlikely event of this happening I will pick up around £200,000 in betting accounts for my 5k stake which I hope to lose.

Obviously I will be joyous should this bet lose! But at least if the hard left win I will get a big chunk of tax free money to cover any paper losses.

I bought some more Cohort (LON:CHRT). We discussed this one at length at the seminar and the more I look the cheaper it looks even after rises.

I've always made my money from averaging up and in the rare event I have tried to average down it rarely works. So despite having to pay more than 100p more to get more I have got some more.

This defence company scores a lot of goals for me. Nicely diversified with low debt even after paying out on an acquisition this one, like defence co

Avon Rubber could carry on up.

Cohort looks very well run and I suspect if there is no election nasties, a run up to 700p then a possible 900p eventually. I added more Ten Entertainment (TEG) .

The shares in this bowling outfit still look cheap compared to its rival Hollywood Bowl and still looks an interesting target buyout for Bowl.

It has cash, a very nice dividend indeed and if I was Hollywood Bowl I would be eyeing up a takeover.

I picked up some small SimplyBiz (LON:SBIZ) in the closing auction at the seminar. Those who went I never noticed at the time, remember we thought I didn't get any! I am trying to pick some up at the sell price today! Sbiz is an interesting one – it's in the regulation area and we all know how much regulation there is in the financial area.

It has a nice niche market and has also bought up one or two rivals. It has been sitting doing nothing for a while – any good news early next year could see a re-rating. Its recent buy of Defaqto looks a good one.

I shorted Trainline again (betted on it to go down). It won't take much for this to hit the buffers. The clue is how so many original shareholders and backers have been so keen to sell their stakes!

They've been selling like crazy and they are right!

It's got a massive debt and very little protection against others coming into the market. Also no surprise if it was hit by new regulations on ticket pricing. At some point this one is going down. Mind the gap!

I keep banking some profits ahead of the election and expect to bank some more next week. Why not as the market is having a good run and I probably would have banked some profits anyway even without a poll ahead.

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