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How many stocks should an investor own? And which ones should they be? Brent Cook, Louis James, Frank Curzio and Benj Gallander gave their opinions at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference.

What advice do Brent Cook, Louis James, Frank Curzio and Benj Gallander have for investors?
At this year’s Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, Marin Katusa of Katusa Research decided to find out. In a 30-minute panel he grilled all four newsletter writers, asking them to reveal their best investing tips and name some of their favorite stocks. The Investing News Network was in the audience, and below has summarized their advice. Read on to see what they said.

Best investing tips

Katusa took advantage of the panelists’ extensive investing knowledge by asking them about the major lessons they’ve learned over the years. Cook answered first, and explained that when he makes an investment it’s based on a thesis. Ideally, the company he’s invested in will release geological data that confirms his thesis. If it doesn’t, he knows it’s time to back out. “When your thesis goes from something solid to hope, you’ve lost all hope,” he said.

For his part, James encouraged investors to do their research — “dig deeper, try harder [and] don’t be impatient,” he said. For him, part of that entails looking for a project’s fatal flaw. “If you don’t find it, look again,” he noted, adding, “there’s always a fatal flaw.”
Curzio encouraged investors to take some money off the table after they’ve profited, while Gallander said he won’t invest in companies without revenues unless he’s positive that they will have revenues within the next six months. Commenting on his strategy, Gallander admitted, “I‘m going to miss lots of good deals, lots of possibilities. But … we’re very risk-averse.”

Number of stocks to own

The panelists all gave similar answers when asked how many stocks an investor should own. Cook said that at Exploration Insights he and Joe Mazumdar “try and keep it to 20 stocks,” while Gallander said he finds 15 to 25 “quite manageable.” Curzio recommended keeping a portfolio of five to seven stocks, and James said he currently owns seven.
All seemed to agree that holding too many stocks is asking for trouble. Gallander said that overdiversification can be a problem, and James suggested that if you get a press release from a company you’ve invested in and can’t immediately identify its significance “you own too many stocks.”

Stock picks

No panel would be complete without stock picks, and each newsletter writer gave one company recommendation. Katusa requested that the panelists suggest companies with market caps over $100 million, and promised that the person whose stock performs the best over the next year will get to lead a keynote at VRIC in 2018.
These are the companies the panelists listed:

  • Mirasol Resources (TSXV:MRZ) — Cook’s pick was Mirasol Resources, a prospect generator with projects in projects in Argentina and Chile.
  • Pretium Resources (TSX:PVG,NYSE:PVG) — BC-focused Pretium Resources was James’ pick. Though the company has faced skepticism from some experts, he believes it has a good chance of seeing success. “Either they’re going to fall flat … and I do too, or they’re going to overdeliver. I’m betting on the latter,” he said.
  • BlackBerry (TSX:BB,NASDAQ:BBRY) — To the surprise of Katusa and the audience, Gallander’s choice was BlackBerry. He admitted the stocks chosen by his fellow panelists will likely see larger share price rises as BlackBerry is already sitting at around $9.
  • InVitae (NYSE:NVTA) — Curzio also went against the grain, picking American biotech company InVitae. He said InVitae is “disrupting the entire DNA sequencing market.”

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Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.


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