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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.

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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. I started with over 14 companies for a portfolio worth about $150K, this has now gone down to 10. May be updated to reflect my connections.

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. EVR.L: EVRAZ plc., Metals, Russia, Dividends – yes; there must be something good about a steel maker with generous dividends with a few billionaires at the helm. Relatively cheap shares.
  3. EXROF: Exro Technologies, Autos, Canada, Dividends – no; they've developed a gearing system for electrical vehicles. A cheap company with potential for stronger returns. Soon to be listed on NASDAQ.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 - heading to a trillion $, and are likely to get busier.
  6. RBLX: Roblox Corporation, Tech, USA, Dividends – no; a "metaverse" gaming company that's a YouTube for games developers. Growing fast.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. U: Unity Software Inc., Tech, USA, Dividends – no; a "metaverse" stock developing augmented reality programs and "engines" for games and digital worlds. Potential to expand greatly.
  10. 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.

Previous stocks on this portfolio that I regret selling include RBREW (Royal Unibrew, featured above~) and SHOP (shopify). Still, you can't have everything.

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