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Stocks to Avoid? Towards an Ethical Portfolio: 10 + to Watch.

Royal Unibrew is a sweet Danish company

This is just one of their drinks, but a popular, non-alcoholic beverage

This is just one of their drinks, but a popular, non-alcoholic beverage

What to avoid

There must be so many articles like this on Hub Pages – what stocks to buy, what to avoid. Maybe I’ll keep this updated if I change my portfolio. I’m putting my money where my keyboard is and have already invested. Dangerous wealth warning – don’t believe a word about these companies without having a feel for them first and doing your own cursory research. Property is probably a better investment than the stock market because you can get a hefty income on top of your theoretically incremental investment. Give me an income rather than stock price increases, please.

I’ll get the silly answers out of the way first. I don’t believe in buying stocks that are unethical. But have my own standards. From a Buddhist perspective, certain trades are to be avoided: “These five trades should not be taken up: trading in weapons, living beings, meat, intoxicants, poisons.” (a quote from the Buddha, Anguttara Nikaya 5:177) As a technicality, this excludes selling meat and fish under certain conditions such as some restaurants, though businesses that trade in flesh may contribute to pain and death. I try and avoid the five trades as given as far as possible except one – intoxicants. A company that sells alcohol is listed in my portfolio below with justification.

I’m wary of companies that sell fossil fuels or pollute the planet though have had them in my portfolio in the past. This could include Coca Cola that generates vast amounts of plastic waste that they take no responsibility for. It may be fine to buy shares in a company if you wish it to change direction and have power, as a shareholder to direct their operations for the better, for a world with less problems for living beings. My biggest ethics rule is – if the company sells tuna fish, avoid. Global overfishing is a big problem, tuna are caught mercilessly on the high seas in jumbo sized nets with huge amounts of collateral damage to other fish, turtle and whale species. All this suffering is quietly ignored in the way that this commodity is mass marketed. Trading in wild animals in particular is bad and this includes wild fish. I’m very open to eating sustainably caught fish, especially non tuna, but am wary of investing into companies that sell them. Tuna represent uber victims and their numbers are crashing whereas fish, closer to the bottom of the food chain like herring are better to eat. Ebay, Amazon and many other profitable companies sell them. I do not wish to profit from the sales of unsustainably purchased wild caught marine predators in particular.

Scombrids and swordfish are off the menu

The gods of the sea are being persecuted and big companies still sell their bodies

The gods of the sea are being persecuted and big companies still sell their bodies

Acknowledgments - Thank You USA!

A note of thanks. Thank you for the great nation of the USA with its hard-working men and women that the whole world has access to. US companies dominate the world and even if there are bigger players from other quarters such as China, there is little transparency from China and the Chinese government is decidedly a law unto itself that does many horrible things to peoples, cultures and animals. They may do some good too. As a UK resident, there are very few stocks in the UK itself that I can care about. The one I felt sorry for is included in my portfolio. Millions of people like me make thousands of pounds from US companies, sometimes on a daily basis. California has to be the slickest part of the world, so much so, that hopefully they are not going to break away as a separate nation. The fact that the American market is one of the leaders in the world does not mean that the US way of doing things is the best. But it is a global dominating market with companies we engage in very actively and know something about.

It's the least I can say

It's the least I can say

Sources Of Information

Sources of information have never been more abundant. Do any online search and you’ll find lots of information. As a non-professional investor I use the Apple iPhone Stocks app with lots of coverage, Zacks ranking and follow tech investors like Beth Kindig featured on Twitter and other sites. People like Beth try and predict the future. Naturally, I’ve also been investing myself for over a decade so some of my companies will be off the chart, though I believe in them. I do a little crypto currency buying but if in doubt, avoid – the main reason being that you have to protect your wallet with lots of security and it may be harder to get the money out than put it in.

Find at least two sources of information

Zacks rankings provide a handy guide - updated daily, among other sources

Zacks rankings provide a handy guide - updated daily, among other sources

The List

Stocks can be classified by market, whether they pay dividends or not, sectors, indexes and many other ways. Here, I’m only interested in markets (countries the companies come from – this can instantly show you if you can trust them, countries with poor economic ratings will also have riskier companies) and whether they pay dividends or not. Most of my portfolio is in the tech sector. Tech sector companies can be divided into bodies and souls. Bodies mean hardware like laptops, phones, chips. Souls means software, data analytics and possibly, cloud computing. Many companies deal with bodies and souls – Apple is mainly a bodies company with lots of soul stuff too (like iCloud). Each company has an EPIC or search code under which it is listed (up to 6 characters). Hope you can find them if you’re interested and follow the details yourself. I’ve only given brief information on each company and why, for the moment, I’ve chosen them. You should not tend to buy more than 10 companies for a private portfolio, though I've broken the rule. Fourteen are listed here alphabetically. May be updated to reflect my connections.

Between the 4th and the 9th of September 2020, there was a dip in tech stocks that has provided room to get in before some of them started rebounding. This portfolio has been added to on the dip and just before.

Even if not updated, some of these companies may still serve their owners and consumers well even if I could be sold up.

In alphabetical order:

  1. AAPL: Apple Inc., Tech, USA, Dividends – yes; Apple is the world’s most valuable company. People are more intimate with their iPhones than with anyone else. Things may change but if you’d bought them when recommended in Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife, you’d now be much richer. I made a mistake when I sold my holding after Steve Jobs died, and now have a smaller holding than before. If only. Good company and prospects.
  2. DDOG: Datadog Inc., Tech, USA, Dividends – no; Beth Kindig recommends. Also mentioned positively by Motley Fool. This is a company that tells tech companies what’s under their hood. A tad risky but they seem to be growing.
  3. GOOG: Alphabet Inc., Tech, USA, Dividends – no; Rana Foroohar’s Don’t Be Evil – How Big … is a spiel about how awful they are. But Alphabet is one of the few companies that pays me through YouTube and other sites. They may only give me pennies, but companies that pay me less are more abundant. Google is like a black hole for advertising. Pity it doesn’t pay dividends. If in doubt – avoid as its growth isn’t dramatic for its price, no dividends, but it’s probably fairly safe as an info monopoly.
  4. GSK.L: GlaxoSmithKline plc., Pharma, UK, Dividends – yes; a slow growth pharma company from the UK that benefits from the local obsession with the NHS. The NHS swallows about $230 billion from taxpayers annually. That money has to go somewhere. The Covid 19 crisis is boosting pharma stocks. Dividend is supposed to be good.
  5. KNOS.L: Kainos Group plc., Tech, UK, Dividends - yes; a little bird told me about this ... could be risky but a cheap tech company (£1.3B) with rumoured links to Netflix. Could be a target for takeover.
  6. MSFT: Microsoft Corporation, Tech, USA, Dividends – yes; Beth Kindig says yes thanks to its growing finger in the cloud computing pie. Also dabbles with Etherium and now the world’s second largest company, probably.
  7. NVDA: NVIDIA Corporation, Tech, USA, Dividends – yes; One of the jewels in my portfolio. The most valuable chip maker. Has fingers in crypto, self-driving cars, car software, graphics chips. They’re growing and are likely to get busier.
  8. ORSTED.CO: Orsted, Energy, Denmark, Dividends – yes; Invests in offshore wind and possibly other alternative energy. Deals with many emerging countries and handles their green energy infrastructure. It’s difficult to find genuinely profitable green energy companies. This seems to be on that route.
  9. RBREW.CO: Royal Unibrew, Drinks, Denmark, Dividends – yes; I love their Supermalt that sells around the world. They also tend to avoid plastic packaging. Danish companies are a safe bet. Yes they sell beer, but in the best, possible taste! You won’t find much on this, but I’ve been following this company for a while.
  10. ROKU: Roku Inc, Tech, USA, Dividends – no; Beth Kindig recommends, likely to be hot by 2023, the next Netflix? Streaming advertising platform with growing income.
  11. RR.L: Rolls-Royce Holdings, Aviation/military, UK, Dividends - yes; This once British Giant is now a minnow and has bottommed thanks to major sell offs and the grounding of commercial flights. Thanks to government subsidies and defence contracts it could pull back but is a long term riser at best. The nearest thing to a penny stock here, one to park small stakes in.
  12. SHOP: Shopify Inc, Tech, USA, Dividends – no; maximising the capacity of individuals to sell things on the web with linkages to big players like Amazon and Asda Walmart. Still growing.
  13. VRTX: Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Pharma, USA, Dividends - no; hailed for developing a wonder drug for lung treatments (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-8442689/Miracle-cystic-fibrosis-drug-dubbed-holy-grail-free-NHS-month.html). Trikafta or it's rebranded formulation is clearly making headlines and is now being bought by the UK NHS. This company is likely to continue doing well as word gets around about the treatment.
  14. ZM: Zoom Video Communications, Tech, USA, Dividends - no; everyone's getting sucked in and no, I don't believe it's peaked. The dip has created opportunities and Zoom will likely grow at a lower incline.