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Mutual Fund News


Special to The Globe and Mail

Philip MacKellar, 25


Equity analyst, consultant

The portfolio

Bank of Commerce Holdings, Deswell Industries Inc., Gannett Co. Inc., General Electric, North American Saving Bank, Jean Coutu Group, Sun Life, Torstar.

The investor

After studying geography and history with a commerce minor, Philip MacKellar became a financial adviser, but found the job less than ideal. "What I was selling wasn't exceptionally bad, just industry standard."

His day job

Today, Mr. MacKellar is an equity analyst for the contrarian investing newsletter, Contra the Herd, as well as being involved in a B.C. company making backpacks and travel organizers from recycled materials.

His strategy

Mr. MacKellar calls himself a contrarian investor. While similar to value investing, he says a major difference is that he takes investor sentiment into account. "I look for investments where the sentiment is downright negative or has been so negative for so long that people have forgotten about it and nobody is following it when good news comes."

His screening process

He starts with firms that have been around for 10 years or longer. "Companies have a good chance of surviving a downturn if they have survived one in the past." He also sticks to firms that make sense to him. "If, after looking at it for an hour, I don't understand it, it's probably not something I should be investing in."

Best move

Buying Jean Coutu Group early last December for $9.18 a share. "At the time there was a lot of concern in the pharmaceutical industry that they wouldn't be allowed by the provinces of Ontario and Quebec to price products for as much as they had been, so the stocks got hit. My thinking was there are still a lot of people who are going to buy drugs and need prescriptions in the future." The shares closed Friday at $12.73.

Worst move

In 2005, Mr. MacKellar began trading on paper and then in 2007 started using a real account with real money. "My timing was horrible because the market peaked two months later," he says.


"Think critically about the headlines. Question the mentality of the market. Common knowledge can be quite damaging."

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