For the month of January, the Investment Portfolio returned +0.08% which compared favourably to the Benchmark Small Ordinaries Accumulation Index (XSOAI) which fell by -2.44%. There were no notable events in the portfolio due to the holiday period and half yearly reporting just around the corner.
The ongoing theme of strong resource stocks and poorly performing industrials showed no signs of slowing in January. Within the ASX-300 the materials sector added +4.8% with some notable moves from Bluescope Steel (ASX: BSL) +20.8%, Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG) +13.1% and Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) +11.3%. On the other side of the ledger Consumer Services were led lower by a downgrade from Brambles (ASX: BXB) -16.0%. The Consumer Discretionary sector also continued its poor run with Myer (ASX: MYR -12.3%).
Reporting season is an ideal time to highlight some of the key points that we will be focussing on within our portfolio of current investments. Firstly, in regards to BSA Group (ASX: BSA) the two most important aspects of the result will be the trend in EBITDA margins, and comments around the two NBN contracts regarding the levels of work completed relative to the expected size of the contracts.
Secondly, Armidale Investments (ASX: AIK) will release its first set of consolidated accounts as an operating entity as opposed to a Listed Investment Company (LIC). The key insights will be the cash flow generated from the broking businesses followed by the current size of the leasing book. We will also be looking for any comments on further consolidation within the broking finance industry as well as lead generation from the broking businesses to the leasing business.
Thirdly, MNF Group (ASX: MNF) will look to continue on their path of >20% earnings growth when they release their results in mid-February. The focus for the NAOS investment team will be commentary around global customer signups for managed service offerings from MNF, as well as commentary around the recent government contract wins and take up of these services. Finally, post the recent acquisition MNF still has significant financial resources to make another acquisition sooner rather than later.