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Investor relies on technology smarts to add zip to portfolio

Andrew Martin

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Andrew Martin, 31

Occupation

Information technology professional

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The portfolio

Apple Inc., Baidu.com Inc., Atmel Corp., Toronto-Dominion Bank, Shoppers Drug Mart Corp., SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., Cenovus Energy Inc., RioCan REIT, iShares S&P/TSX 60 Index Fund and iShares S&P 500 Index Fund.

The investor

"I have been investing since the age of 18 and have a track record of beating the market," writes Andrew Martin in his financial blog, She Thinks I'm Cheap! He recently completed the Canadian Securities Course to "back up his years of practical experience."

When Mr. Martin left his previous job, he transferred his vested pension into a locked-in retirement account. He believes he can manage the funds better than the company's pension plan, which targets an annual return of 2.5 per cent.

How he invests

"My approach is to invest in solid companies that are profitable, pay dividends and offer good value relative to peers," declares Mr. Martin. "They should also make products or sell services that people need."

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"My portfolio is 100-per-cent equities, as bond yields are very low and will remain low for quite some time. Not only are there great yields on dividends paid by banking, utility and telecom companies, but the dividends are also taxed at a lower rate."

He has added several technology stocks to his portfolio. He is comfortable with their volatility and risk because of his long-term horizon. He also feels his career in technology gives him "an edge in understanding and investing in technology companies."

Apple is a leader in the growing smartphone and tablet markets, pays a dividend, and has new products in the pipeline such as "the rumoured Apple TV." However, the stock is priced for perfection, so Mr. Martin is watching closely and prepared to take profits.

Microchip maker Atmel is a play on growth in Android smartphones, and serves as a hedge against Apple "in case the Android market does really well." But several issues have arisen at the company, and the future currently looks cloudy.

Another investment, Baidu, he calls China's Google. "It's a leader in a vast, growing market."

Best move

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His shares in Apple have nearly doubled in value.

Worst move

"Buying shares of Nortel Networks while it was dropping, resulting in an 85-per-cent loss."

Advice

"Investors should own companies or sectors that they know and understand. To reduce costs, they should explore low-cost index ETFs rather than mutual funds. And don't chase the hottest company making headlines."

Special to The Globe and Mail

Want to share our strategies?

E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

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