Beginners' Portfolio Up 22%!

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LONDON -- It's been nearly two months since our end-of-2012 valuation update, so how is the Beginners' Portfolio doing?

In short, it's up 22.6% since we made our first purchase of Vodafone Group (LSE: VOD  ) (NASDAQ: VOD  ) on May 18 of last year. Since then, Vodafone has been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride. By August it was nicely up, but the tail end of the year saw a slump as low as 154 pence -- partly based on tough conditions in Europe leading to falling service revenues. But data revenue is up, and Vodafone's global reach helped it gain a new contract with German giant ThyssenKrupp last week. Ace U.K. investor Neil Woodford famously sold Vodafone this month, but I'm happy to go against the guru, and I still think Vodafone is a buy.



Buy price

Total Cost (pounds)

Bid Price*

Proceeds (pounds)

Price Change



168.5 pence


163.5 pence





305.5 pence


373.6 pence





1,440.5 pence


1,474 pence





617.9 pence


898 pence





36.9 pence


93 pence





434.5 pence


452 pence



Rio Tinto


3,048.4 pence


3,519.5 pence



BAE Systems


332.3 pence


350 pence




















*Bid prices are from mid-afternoon Monday while markets were open so I could get accurate spreads.

The winners
In Tesco (LSE: TSCO  ) , I sided with that other guru, Warren Buffett, who dipped in for a large helping when the price slumped last January in response to a poor Christmas period. Subsequent updates from the U.K.'s biggest supermarket have shown that the company's turnaround plans are bearing fruit, and the share price has regained a good deal of its loss. We're up 17% on Tesco since our purchase on May 23, and it is definitely still a buy for me.

Our biggest winner so far is clearly Blinkx (LSE: RTHM  ) , the video technology developer, whose shares surged more than 20% earlier this month when the company told us that full-year sales could be ahead of target. I have been pleasantly surprised by the rapid rise we've seen from Blinkx, as I was expecting growth to be a bit slower. But these things can happen with high-tech growth shares, and we should just smile and be grateful when they do.

Persimmon (LSE: PSN  ) has also done well for us, as the homebuilding sector has recovered strongly over the past six months. The share price did dip a bit on Monday to 898 pence despite full-year results showing a 52% rise in underlying pre-tax profit, with a 6% rise in completions and a 6% rise in average selling price. Persimmon is due to pay a 75 pence-per-share dividend on June 30, but that will be it until a planned 95 pence payout two years later.

Since the last update, we've had a final dividend from BP to add 10.08 pounds to the pot, a final dividend from GlaxoSmithKline of 7.48 pounds, and approximately 3.50 pounds as a quarterly dividend from Apple. The extra cash all helps take us to that 22.6% rise -- and that's offer-to-bid, with all charges accounted for, representing what such a portfolio would actually raise should it all be sold.

It's still early days, and we're in this for the long run, so valuations are not that important now -- but it is nice to see things going well!

As you know, I consider income from dividends to be a core part of a long-term portfolio -- whether you take it to spend or reinvest it in more shares, there's nothing wrong with good old cash, whatever your strategy. And that's why I recommend the latest Fool report, "The Motley Fool's Top Income Share For 2013," in which our top analysts identify a share they believe will provide handsome dividend income for years to come. But it will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your copy today.

I also think you should get a copy of "What Every New Investor Needs To Know," as it really does help beginners with some of the basics.

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9/29/2016 7:57 AM
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